David Price

Douglas DeFelice/USA Today Sports

It's March 20, and David Price is shocked at how good he feels

John Tomase
March 20, 2018 - 4:40 pm

Forget about the numbers. Let's ask David Price how he feels. The answer should make Red Sox fans optimistic.

"I guess today is the 20th," Price said after beating the Pirates. "This is the best I've felt on March 20th in spring training. I want to continue this trend up until my first game. That's what I plan to do and I'm excited."

Price wasn't regular-season sharp in the 12-6 victory over Pittsburgh, but he was plenty good enough over five effective innings. He went five innings, allowing three hits and two runs. He walked one, struck out four and hit a batter, while also making a pair of athletic defensive plays around the mound despite losing his glove both times.

Making his second start of the spring, Price sat in the 91-93 mph range with his fastball while also working on his cutter. He wasn't thrilled with his fastball command.

"It's still coming along," he said. "It was really the second time off the mound against hitters that I've thrown all four pitches, so to get out there on Thursday and throw a bullpen and work on some other things, that stuff, that will come around. If I can command my fastball the way that I'm capable of doing it, it allows my secondary stuff to not be as sharp early on. That's what I need to do better right now."

After the game, manager Alex Cora announced that Price will be his second starter, with Chris Sale getting the nod on opening day and Rick Porcello going third.

All that matters to Price is feeling strong, and for the first time in as long as he can remember, he has advanced this deep into spring training without a nagging injury. He credits Cora's new approach, which called for his pitchers slowly to work up to game speed.

"As soon as he told us what the pitchers were going to be doing, me and Sale looked at each other like, 'My arm already feels better just hearing that,'" Price said. "I don't think we needed (convincing) to buy into it. It makes sense. Especially on bullpen days, not having to go out there and stretch with the team or go to the training room early, then you come in here and sit through a meeting, then go out there and stretch. Our bullpen day is our bullpen day. You go to the training room, weight room, go out there and throw. You pitch. I don't think we had to buy into. It was something we all had never done before, but it's been really good."