Reimer: Ridiculous to claim David Price faked thumb issue

Alex Reimer
April 13, 2018 - 12:50 pm

David Butler II/USA Today Sports

There are two ways to view David Price’s situation. Either he felt some numbness in his fingers during his start Wednesday against the Yankees, which is why he surrendered four runs and exited the game after just one inning. Or, Price felt completely fine, and made up the injury so he could avoid the shellacking. 

Only the first scenario makes any sense.

Video of Price letting it rip during a long-toss session Thursday, coupled with the news that he’ll make his next start Tuesday in Anaheim, will likely fuel the tinfoil hat conspiracy theorists. In their mind, it is not possible that Price was genuinely dealing with circulatory issues in the frigid cold. 

“It's something I've always had, even whenever I was a little kid. My hands and my feet are two things that are always cold. Whenever it's cold outside, it intensifies that,” Price told reporters, per WEEI’s John Tomase.

We’ve been through this routine with Price before. Last year, he was pulled from his scheduled start at Fenway Park July 28, at the height of the Dennis Eckersley controversy. The scratch fueled speculation that Price was afraid to pitch in Boston, because he couldn’t face the wrath of Red Sox Nation. His outbursts with reporters and overly sensitive behavior on Twitter provided all of the proof that was needed.

Price, of course, wound up missing nearly the next two months with left elbow inflammation before returning to pitch out of the bullpen. He was also absent for the first two months of the season due to the injury. 

Over the last three years, Price has done little to ingratiate himself with Red Sox Nation ever since signing the richest deal in franchise history. He’s made snide comments about the fans and berated a beloved Hall of Fame hurler on the team plane for the crime of saying “yuck” on a telecast. Most importantly, he was dreadful in his lone postseason start. 

But there's no proof Price has faked injuries, which is one of the cardinal sins in professional athletics. In fact, when healthy, Price has been mostly excellent on the mound. The only exception came during his first seven starts of the 2016 campaign, in which he posted an ERA north of 6.00 But after that, Price dominated. He posted a 3.39 ERA the rest of the way and struck out 175 batters in 188.1 innings. 

Last year, Price was dynamite out of the pen, not allowing a single run in seven appearances –– including 6.2 scoreless frames in the Divisional Round against Houston. 

In his first two starts against the Rays, Price twirled 14 innings of shutout ball and fanned 10 batters. He did not look like the same guy against the Yankees. 

Perhaps Price, who’s won a Cy Young award and made five All-Star teams, couldn’t handle the pressure of pitching against the Yankees in early April. Maybe the meatball he served to Gary Sanchez, and his putrid first inning as a whole, was the result of angst and nerves. Under this scenario, rather than do his job, Price decided to bow out. In other words, he quit. 

There’s a lot that can be said about Price. At 32 years old, his body might not be durable enough to cleanly make it through a long baseball season. That is a fair concern and worrisome, considering the Red Sox are tethered to Price for four more years –– barring an opt-out. 

But the notion that Price faked an injury to exit his third start of the season is an aspersion too far. Besides blind hatred, there’s nothing to back up the damning accusation. 

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