Yesterday, at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, an unfamiliar sight was painted for most of Red Sox Nation through various local Twitter accounts, most of which were there to see college football stars dazzle professional teams. David Price, wearing a sweatsuit instead of his Red Sox cap and home whites, anxiously waited for renowned surgeons Dr. James Andrews and Dr. Neal ElAttrache in the lobby of a local hotel.
A few hours later, it was announced that David Price would not need surgery, specifically Tommy John, on his left elbow after experiencing discomfort in a two-inning, 38-pitch simulation earlier in the week. Price explained that he usually feels some level of discomfort and tightness in his elbow during every Spring Training, but this year the pain was more pronounced. After an initial MRI was conducted by the Red Sox medical staff, it was deemed inconclusive and announced some swelling and fluid had built up in Price's elbow.
This morning, Price addressed the media, appearing in good spirits upon hearing the fantastic news. While Red Sox skipper John Farrell proclaimed Price would be shut down for " at least 7-10 days," Price affirmed he would not follow any schedule, but rather re-start his Spring Training when he felt comfortable. Price will continue to get treatment at Fort Meyers at the Red Sox training facility.
While this is the best possible news for all of Red Sox Nation and the proverbial Red Sox World Series parade is back on, I am still cautious of Price and his limp left elbow, which he deemed to be "unique," according to Dr. Andrews and Dr. ElAttrache. David Price has never had a significant injury in his entire career, much less one to his pitching arm/shoulder/elbow. The 7-time All-Star has quite a unique delivery, which, instead of following through after his pitch, snaps back similar to Pedro Martinez, is a recipe for injury. Nonetheless, because Price has not suffered any injury worth noting in his career, it has to be assumed that he is durable.
However, I do not want the Red Sox to rush David Price back. Along with Chris Sale and Rick Porcello, David Price is a member of the "Big 3," which is supposed to lead Boston to a potential World Series this year. Even without David Price, this is a damn good ball club. While David Ortiz will surely be missed, most analysts expect the Red Sox to win at least 90 games and win the American League East, with or without Price.
Because of this, I want Price to take his sweet time. Instead of a week or two, take a month off. Stay in Fort Meyers for the extended Spring Training and re-join the big club sometime in April, if not later. While David Price told reporters the strain is in his muscle and not the actual ligament, fans were optimistic in a similar fashion last year with newly-acquired reliever Carson Smith, who eventually required Tommy John surgery and is still not completely healthy.
I understand these were separate injuries with separate doctors, as Smith did not even go to see Dr. Andrews, but I want to be ultra-cautious with Price, as I am sure President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski is as well.