Kim Klement/USA Today Sports

Red Sox closing in on role for David Price

Rob Bradford
September 13, 2017 - 8:23 pm

If David Price keeps going down this road, there is little doubt he will be pitching before the postseason rolls around. The question, however, still remains: In what role?

Red Sox manager John Farrell explained after watching Price throw a 48-pitch, three-inning simulated game at Fenway Park that discussions can start regarding if the lefty has time to re-enter the starting rotation, or if he will be relied upon as a relief pitcher.

While Farrell was non-commital, it certainly seemed as though relieving would be the likely role.

"You’re looking at at least one more sim game. That would be the need at a minimum," said Farrell when asked how much time would be needed to get Price back in game action. "It is September. You’ve got guys that can build in innings behind him with a progression if you were to choose to do that. It would be aggressive to bring him back as a starter right now, in my mind."

"Just want to pitch, whatever it is," Price said.

He does, of course, have experience pitching out of the bullpen in the postseason, having last done it during the 2015 American League Division Series with the Blue Jays. Prior to that he saw stints out of the bullpen in 2008 and '10 with the Rays.

"He came to us after we had lost Brett Cecil, who was our top left-handed guy. Dave said, 'Hey, if you need me in the pen I'm there.' He came to us, which showed me a lot," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons told "We got him up that night and didn't need him. But he had been up. So the next day I went to him and I said, 'Listen, if you chuck today you're going to be in the game.' So I had Dave get a loose a little bit early and brought him in.

"He was all for it. It was his idea and he was good coming out of the pen. He had done that in Tampa. Dave has always had that loose arm. All the innings he has thrown in his career, he knows how to conserve. He's got the confidence coming in even if he isn't 100 percent warm."

But, even with the suggestion that the idea of starting might be "aggressive," Farrell didn't completely rule it out.

"I think what we’ve seen in past postseasons is that there’s a pitcher, whoever that pitcher has become, there’s been a multi-inning pitcher in there that has made major contributions," the manager said. "In ’13 it was [Felix] Doubront. Prior to that I’m sure there were other guys who came out of the bullpen after they started or they had innings under their belt and contributed, whether it was Derek Lowe from years past. Situations like that are not uncommon, but I don’t want to paint him as a reliever after today’s work."

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