Red Sox

Here's when David Price will return to the Red Sox rotation

Here's when David Price will return to the Red Sox rotation

David Price will return this weekend from the wrist injury that has kept him on the injured list since Aug. 8.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora revealed before Wednesday night's game that Price, who had a cyst on his left wrist, will start on Sunday vs. the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim. The southpaw threw a three-inning simulated game in Denver on Tuesday.

Price's return should provide a much-needed boost to the rotation as spot-starter Brian Johnson has struggled mightily in his place. The Red Sox need all the help they can get as they sit six games out in the American League wild-card race.

Cora said once Price returns, Johnson will pitch out of the bullpen for the rest of the season.

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Red Sox select possible Brock Holt replacement in Rule 5 draft from Astros

Red Sox select possible Brock Holt replacement in Rule 5 draft from Astros

The Red Sox didn't leave the winter meetings empty-handed after all.

On Thursday, they selected infielder Jonathan Arauz from the Astros in the Rule 5 draft. The switch-hitting infielder must spend the season on the big league roster or be offered back to the Astros for $50,000. He will compete for a roster spot as a utilityman, with the Red Sox likely moving on from free agent Brock Holt.

"He came to us highly recommended from our scouts and our analysts," VP of pro scouting Gus Quattlebaum told reporters in San Diego. "Younger guy, switch hitter, versatile glove, we think we can bounce him all around the infield. Has some work to do physically to get stronger, but we like his bat-to-ball skills, can use the field, so we're excited to give him an opportunity to compete for a utility infield position."

Arauz, 21, is a lifetime .243 hitter in the minors. Signed by the Phillies in 2014 out of Panama, he went to the Astros in the 2015 trade that sent closer Ken Giles to Houston and former No. 1 overall pick Mark Appel, among others, to Philadelphia.

He split last season between High A and Double A, hitting .249 with a career-high 11 home runs. He has spent the bulk of his minor league career at shortstop, but he also appeared in 86 games at second and 32 at third.

"We feel he can play short," Quattlebaum told reporters. "Anytime you have a young kid that you're pushing to the big leagues, the fact that he can bounce all over the infield, I think that helps his chances of sticking."

Added Quattlebaum: "We had some questions on the right side of our infield and we're looking for the most versatile athletes we can bring in to the organization. We have other guys internally that we believe in as well, but we think he can come in and compete."

The Red Sox used to be active in the Rule 5 draft in the early days of Theo Epstein, taking players like left-hander Javier Lopez, who went on to have a long career as a specialist, or speedy outfielder Adam Stern. A deep roster and farm system had left them out of the Rule 5 market in recent years, but the combination of a shallow farm system and the 26th man that will be added for the 2020 season made diving back in more palatable.

In the minor league portion of the draft, the Red Sox selected a pair of Double-A right-handers: Raynel Espinal from the Yankees and Jose Espada from the Blue Jays.

"Espinal's an older guy, he's 26 years old out of the Dominican," Quattlebaum said. "He's still recovering from Tommy John surgery, so credit our medical staff, our scouts, our analysts, they've all spoken up on all these guys that we've selected, and we came away comfortable with what we saw in the medical review. We're hopeful that he can get back, I would say sometime mid-summer. Power arm, chance to start. Wouldn't draw it up as the most cosmetic of deliveries, but our scouts and our analysts feel that he has some starter upside."

As for Espada: "Power arm," Quattlebaum said. "Missed some time last year with an elbow sprain, so not all of our scouts were able to lay eyes on him, but it's a big arm, we like the fastball-slider combo and figured it was worth a shot."

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MLB trade rumors: These 5 teams are 'in play' for Red Sox's David Price

MLB trade rumors: These 5 teams are 'in play' for Red Sox's David Price

The Boston Red Sox appear to have several potential suitors if they really want to trade starting pitcher David Price this offseason.

MLB.com's Mark Feinsand reported Thursday an update on Price's situation, noting a few specific teams that have talked to the Red Sox about a potential trade for the veteran left-hander.

According to a source, the Red Sox have held trade talks with at least five clubs about David Price, the 2012 American League Cy Young Award winner who helped lead Boston to the 2018 World Series title.

Among the teams in play for Price are the Padres, Cardinals, White Sox and Reds, while the Angels have also been in contact with the Red Sox, according to sources.

One team Feinsand doesn't mention is the Toronto Blue Jays. Sportsnet reported Wednesday night that the Blue Jays have "explored taking on David Price and Jackie Bradley Jr.," but that "the cost in both dollars and prospect capital remains too high."

Acquiring Price does not come without genuine risks for these interested teams.

He is 34 years and still has three more seasons left on his contract with an annual salary of $32 million, which, before Gerrit Cole agreed to sign with the New York Yankees, was the fifth-highest yearly base salary in baseball.

Price also wasn't very durable or effective in 2019. He posted a 7-5 record with a 4.28 ERA, 128 strikeouts and 32 walks over 107 1/3 innings. Price made 22 starts this past season, eight fewer than he did in 2018.

The Red Sox reportedly are "actively" trying to trade outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr., who is entering his final year of arbitration.

Boston lost a starting pitcher Thursday morning when news broke that Rick Porcello had agreed to a one-year, $10 million contract with the New York Mets. Losing both Price and Porcello in one offseason would be a real blow to a Red Sox rotation that battled injury and inconsistency throughout 2019.

Tomase: Price trade would put 2020 in jeopardy>>>

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