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Red Sox notebook: John Farrell talks David Price’s elbow, Tyler Thornburg’s mystifying struggles, and what he’d change about spring training

03.05.17 at 1:10 pm ET
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John Farrell

John Farrell

FORT MYERS — With the Red Sox set to square off against the Braves on Sunday, here are some notes from John Farrell’s lengthy pregame session with reporters.

— Farrell said left-hander David Price will continue to work on conditioning and range of motion, with light strengthening, while he recovers from an elbow strain. He’ll remain shut down for another week or so.

“I know David is probably feeling better today than he has yesterday and all those are encouraging signs, but there’s going to be range of motion, light strengthening, the cardio and conditioning from a general standpoint continues until we put a ball back in his hand,” Farrell said.

Price will not throw until he’s symptom-free.

— Reliever Tyler Thornburg is off to a woeful start, and will throw on flat ground Sunday and work in the bullpen on Tuesday before returning to game action later this week in an attempt to fix his mechanics. Thornburg has allowed seven hits and nine runs in just 1.1 innings, good for a staff-worst 47.25 ERA.

“It’s been more timing in his delivery,” Farrell said. “He’s out of sync right now. His body is drifting to the plate too quick, you see a number of pitches left up of the strike zone up to his arm-side. To see him hit a guy the other day with a changeup, that just says his timing right now needs a lot of work.”

— What does Farrell dislike about spring training? “We don’t have all day, do we?” Farrell joked.

His basic issue is with the push and pull of preparing his team vs. entertaining the fans who pack JetBlue Park on a daily basis.

“We still see it as this is our vehicle to get players ready physically,” Farrell said. “And yet you walk in and there are 11,000 people, so there’s this conflict of big business and getting players ready. Not that you lose sight of that and you’re playing players all the time, but when you start getting pushback because four or five big-leaguers haven’t traveled across the [state]. There’s a lot more to balance now.”

— Farrell saluted the job first base coach Ruben Amaro has done as a third base coach in camp, but reiterated that Brian Butterfield will return to that spot in time for the start of the season. Butterfield has been slowed by a knee replacement.

“If Butter can get out there with a crutch, he’ll be out there,” Farrell said. “He’s our third base coach.”

Read More: David Price, John Farrell, Red Sox,

David Price gets good news on elbow, but long-term questions remain: ‘This was something that’s happened over a long period of time’

03.04.17 at 10:07 am ET
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David Price got some good news on Friday. (NIck Churiaro/USA Today Sports)

David Price got some good news on Friday. (NIck Churiaro/USA Today Sports)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Two of the foremost elbow specialists in the nation gave David Price exactly the news he wanted to hear on Friday. But by no means is the Red Sox left-hander out of the woods just yet.

Drs. James Andrews and Neal ElAttrache examined Price in Indianapolis on Friday and told him his sore left elbow didn’t need surgery or an injection at this time. They recommended seven to 10 days of rest, based at least in part on Price’s “unique” elbow, which is apparently built to withstand the attrition of a decade in the majors.

Price said the doctors told him the issue is in a muscle, not ligament, though he wasn’t specific with the exact nature of his injury, just that the doctors, “expected it to be much worse than it was.”

“Everything that they said, honestly, couldn’t have went any better,” Price said on Saturday. “It was almost like I paid them to tell me the stuff that I wanted to hear. That obviously wasn’t the case, but it was a good meeting, just to hear it from those two guys.”

Still, Price made it clear that whatever ailed him is the result of his long career.

“This was something that’s happened over a long period of time,” Price said. “It’s not something that just happened on Tuesday or whatever day I threw the sim game. It didn’t just happen. This is something that’s happened over the course of my career, and I’ve continued to be able to do it at a high level. That was something they both talked about. If I wasn’t still pitching at a high level, it’s something that might be a little bit different. If I was 25 or 26 years old, it might be a different scenario. But for the fact that this has gone on for a while, and I’ve continued to be able to eat up innings and to be able to throw the ball at a high level. They’re like, ‘Your elbow is extremely unique. It’s found a way to kind of heal itself.’ So it’s pretty neat.”

What this means for Price moving forward is anyone’s guess. He declined to put a timetable on his return, and acknowledged that if things don’t improve in 10 days, he’ll be meeting with more doctors.

Price said he felt some soreness while warming up for Tuesday’s sim game, though this isn’t out of the ordinary, since he typically hears a “pop” at the start of spring training that tells him his arm is loose and ready for the season. The soreness increased that night.

The difference came when he woke up completely stiff the next morning.

“The stiffness kind of set in that night, and came in in the next morning and felt like my arm wouldn’t move,” he said. “To me, that’s what was different. The stiffness, to a degree, that was nothing new, it was something you get as a pitcher especially at this stage of the season and it’s something you just get into the trainer room and you work it out and if you need to take a day from not throwing, you do that. We weren’t going to mess around and wait around, it was something we felt like was in the best interest. It’s not something you want to fiddle around with.”

He said he feels night-and-day better even now.

“From the night it happened to the next morning when I came in and then from getting the treatment that day with the training staff, I saw how much of an improvement it made in that short of a time period and then going out there and seeing those guys and the progressions it’s made on a day-to-day basis has been really, really good,” he said. “I’ve probably had 40 hours straight of no treatment, no ice, no anti-inflammatories, no nothing, nothing was in my system and for it improve the way that it has, that’s a very good sign.”

So how stiff was it?

“It was probably just a little bit more stiff,” he said. “If I felt the way that I felt yesterday right now, it’s probably something I wouldn’t even mention or I wouldn’t even say. It’s just the normal aches and pains of spring training. It’s something I prepare myself to go through every spring training and something I’ve always gotten through. It’s just a little bit more stiff this time, a little bit more inflammation and that’s why we made the decision that we made.”

As for when we might see Price again, he’s not indulging in timetables.

“If I’m not out there in 10 days, I’m sure that’s going to be the next story,” he said. “And if I’m not out there in five days, that’ll be the next story as well. So there is no timetable.”


Read More: David Price, james andrews, Red Sox, Spring Training

David Price gets ‘best-case scenario’ after second opinion; No surgery, will be shut down 7-10 days

03.03.17 at 4:44 pm ET
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David Price (Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports)

David Price (Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports)

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Red Sox manager John Farrell called the news the “best-case scenario” for David Price. All things involved, it was hard to argue.

After the Red Sox’ 9-1 win over the Braves Friday at the Wide World of Sports Complex, Farrell passed along the news that Price would not need surgery, or even a platelet rich plasma (PRP) injection, on his ailing pitching elbow.

Following the second opinion given by noted elbow experts Dr. James Andrews and Dr. Neal ElAttrache, the Red Sox will go forth with the plan to shut down Price for 7-10 days, receiving treatment and medication. After the rest, the team reevaluate the pitcher’s elbow before proceeding.

“Even talking with David on his way up there, he felt with each passing hour he was becoming more free,” said Farrell. “As we talked about him experiencing this type of forearm issue in spring training, it may be a little more intense this year, but it’s still the kind of spring training arm that he goes through. A very positive, full exam considering some of the concern. … We definitely feel this is the best-case scenario in light of him still having to miss some time. And there’s no timetable for his return. But we have a definitive plan for him going forward, and an encouraging one.”

Rick Porcello takes mound in game for first time as American League Cy Young Award winner

03.03.17 at 3:54 pm ET
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Rick Porcello (Reinhold Matay/USA Today Sports)

Rick Porcello (Reinhold Matay/USA Today Sports)

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — For the first time in his life, Rick Porcello took the mound as the American League Cy Young Award winner, Friday. (At least the initial foray into pitching with the title in front of people who actually paid money to attend.)

Sure, the outing will never go down in the history books. Grapefruit League starts never do. But, nonetheless, Porcello’s three innings against the Braves did mark the beginning of his journey toward trying to become the first back-to-back winner of the A.L. Cy Young since Pedro Martinez in 1999 and 2000.

He didn’t disappoint. The right-hander allowed just two hits over his three innings, while striking out four.

“Felt pretty good,” Porcello said. “Arm is still attached. That’s always a bonus, first time out.”

The Red Sox had reeled in Porcello a bit this spring due to the World Baseball Classic-induced extended exhibition schedule. Prior to the outing against the Braves, the righty’s only action vs. hitters came in a two-inning simulated game at JetBlue Park.

“The more opportunities you get to get off the mound, to take things slow and work on the mechanical things you need to work on the better off you’re going to be,” he said. “Try to use that opportunity wisely and there were still some things that happened out there, delivery-wise, that were a little inconsistent. Just trying to get my bearings and my timing down. The last inning was a lot better. I think that time helped and I’ll continue using these opportunities to sharpen my delivery.”

While it was somewhat notable that Porcello made his spring training debut, the news of the day remained waiting on news from Indianapolis regarding David Price’s elbow. Even Friday’s Red Sox starting pitcher understood that.

“My heart goes out to him,” Porcello said of Price. “Not only is he a teammate and a huge part of our team but he’s a really good friend of mine. It’s a tough time for him right now and we’ll see what happens. Like anything else, like any other outside distraction, you have to compartmentalize. You still have a job to do. But he’s definitely in all our thoughts. Hopefully it’s nothing too serious and he’ll be back soon.”

David Price on Twitter: Jokes about leaving NFL scouting combine to return to Fort Myers; still no word on elbow

03.03.17 at 3:01 pm ET
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If nothing else, David Price appears to be in good spirits.

The Red Sox left-hander, who left the team on Friday to seek a second opinion on his sore elbow from the renowned orthopedist, Dr. James Andrews, at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis, took to Twitter to joke about rejoining the Red Sox.

Price leaves the biggest question of all — how he’s doing — unanswered, but judging from the tone of his message, perhaps the news he received from Andrews was positive.

Price visited the famed physician after complaining of soreness on Wednesday morning, one day after throwing 38 pitches in two simulated innings. He felt fine after his outing, but woke up sore the next day. The Red Sox gave him an MRI and thought the findings were concerning enough to seek out Andrews.

The Red Sox remain in a holding pattern for now, as John Farrell mentioned to reporters in Orlando this morning.

Perhaps Price’s jocular tweets will give them a reason to exhale.

Read More: David Price, Red Sox,

Wondering what it’s like to get a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews? Tyler Thornburg gives us a primer

03.03.17 at 2:09 pm ET
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Tyler Thornburg (Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports)

Tyler Thornburg (Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports)

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Tyler Thornburg has a pretty good idea what David Price is going through.

When it comes to getting second opinions on elbows from Dr. James Andrews — which is what Price is experiencing in Indianapolis Friday — Thornburg has been there, done that. It’s an expertise that can be attributed to the reliever’s 2014 check-up after experiencing a season-ending elbow issue.

“I just wanted to get the opinion from the guy who knows the situation the best of anybody in the world,” Thornburg said.

“It was cool to go down there [to Andrews’ office in Pensacola, Fla.]. The second opinion is already a weird thing to talk about because you’re not saying you don’t trust the team doctor, but you want to get another opinion. It’s always a tough situation.”

As it turned out, the two-hour visit — which involved another MRI and a hands-on examination — was well worth it for Thornburg.

Dr. Andrews ultimately determined that Brewers’ medical staff had under-played the pitcher’s diagnosis. And while there would still be no surgery, Thornburg did receive a PRP injection with a much more cautious timeline.

“[Milwaukee] said that the tear in there was a previous wound that I had my freshman year of high school in 2004,” he remembered. “So when they sent me to Andrews, he said it was a high grade tear, leaking fluid and I should take 4-6 weeks and if it didn’t heal than to have surgery.”

And, as is often the case with those getting second opinions from Dr. Andrews, the biggest payoff might have been ultimate piece of mind.

“Yeah, just because you’re getting it from the guy who is the best at what he does,” Thornburg said when asked if there was a sense of relief after visiting the world-renowned orthopedist. “People go to him for a reason.”

Red Sox notebook: Wait on David Price continues; Pablo Sandoval looks like ‘different player’

03.03.17 at 12:06 pm ET
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David Price. (NIck Churiaro/USA Today Sports)

David Price. (NIck Churiaro/USA Today Sports)

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — It’s a good thing John Farrell is finding himself at the self-proclaimed “Happiest Place on Earth.” He might need every bit of good news he can find by the end of the day.

Prior to playing the Braves at the Disney Wide World of Sports complex, the Red Sox manager reiterated that there was no news yet to be had when it came to David Price’s second opinion on the pitcher’s injured left elbow. Both Dr. James Andrews and Dr. Neal ElAttrache were slated to visit with Price in Indianapolis Friday afternoon at the NFL Scouting Combine.

“I don’t know that you’re ever saying it’s easier to deal with an injury, especially when it’s a core player. If there’s time to be missed, it’s felt. Hopefully the way he’s progressed the last couple days is encouraging news. Again, it’s hard to predict. Any time you’re going to miss time from a core player, that’s going to have an impact on your team.”

Farrell has first-hand experience when it comes to players who Dr. Andrews steer in a different direction than the original diagnosis, with his son, Luke, avoiding Tommy John surgery thanks to a visit to the orthopedist.

The manager did note that there were no warning signs in 2016 that any of this might be possible with Price.

“You would think after 230 innings if that was an issue there would be some ill-effects of that at some point during the year, which he never experienced,” Farrell said. “Most major league starters are never going to feel pristine every time they walk to the mound. You look at the number of innings he’s pitched over the course of his career, even the last three years, it’s the most in baseball. He’s been durable. This was unexpected.”

– The Red Sox aren’t anointing Pablo Sandoval their everyday third baseman yet, but, according to Farrell, the player has left a pretty powerful impression to this point.

“He’s shown more in the first week of games than he did all of last spring,” the manager said. “From plays he’s made defensively, the range he’s showing, the way he’s getting down the line. He’s not a base-stealer, we know that. He’s much more athletic. His at-bats have been much more consistent. This is like we have a much different player this year compared to last.”

Sandoval is 5-for-12 (.417) with an 1.000 OPS in his four Grapefruit League games so far, going 1-for-3 vs. lefties with a deep fly out to left field.

“The fact that he was searching for that right-handed swing before, now he feels like a more confident hitter overall and certainly from the right side,” Farrell said. “I think a lot has to do with just his body. It’s allowed the swing to be repeated. It’s more aggressive and the bat path is much more consistent.”

– While Hanley Ramirez said Thursday his right shoulder issue was more of an issue than last year, when he also eased into a throwing program, Farrell remains optimistic the ailment won’t curtail the plan to pay Ramirez at first base against left-handed starters come Opening Day.

“I would love to give a timeline, but I can’t,” Farrell said. “Based on all the testing in the training room, we feel like our medical staff is he will get over this. If there’s not marked improvement in the short run, I”m sure further tests will take place. But there’s nothing to say today that he’s not going to be ready at first base defensively for the plan outlined.”

– Steven Wright and Drew Pomeranz both threw live batting practice for the first time, Friday, back at JetBlue Park.

Pomeranz threw 27 pitches to catcher Blake Swihart, facing batters Dan Butler, Chris Young, and Josh Ockimey. Wright threw 31 pitches to catcher Christian Vazquez, facing batters Yoan Aybar, Michael Chavis, Kyri Washington, and Josh Ockimey.

– This was Andrew Benintendi’s first trip to Disney World.

David Ortiz reportedly undecided about announcing Red Sox games this season

03.03.17 at 9:09 am ET
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David Ortiz is reportedly undecided about whether he wants to join NESN this season. (Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports)

David Ortiz is reportedly undecided about whether he wants to join NESN this season. (Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports)

David Ortiz may not call Red Sox games after all this season.

According to the Boston Globe’s Chad Finn, Ortiz is undecided about what he wants to pursue in broadcasting. In addition to NESN, Finn says Fox Sports has also expressed interest in his services. Ortiz was a part of the network’s 2014 World Series coverage.

In an interview with Herald Radio last month, Red Sox president Sam Kennedy floated the possibility of Big Papi joining the NESN team.

“It’ll be fun to watch the next stage of his career,” Kennedy said. “He’s got a lot of different interests. Broadcasting is certainly one. It’d be interesting to see if he goes into national broadcasting. We’d certainly love to have him part of our local broadcast team on a limited basis. He wanted to dip his toe into that water.”

In a follow up conversation with the Globe, Kennedy said nothing is imminent. Regardless, Ortiz will be around Fenway Park this season. The team will retire his No. 34 on June 23.

Read More: Boston Red Sox, David Ortiz, NESN,

Hanley Ramirez’s shoulder is causing all kinds of problems

03.02.17 at 10:45 pm ET
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Hanley Ramirez (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Hanley Ramirez (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Hanley Ramirez might not like it, but he just landed with the best-case scenario.

After talking to Moises Alou, the general manager of Team Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic, it was determined that Ramirez would be going to represent his country in the tournament due to the slugger’s lingering right shoulder stiffness.

“We settled some points,” said Ramirez, who is being replaced on the DR roster by Jean Segura. “Tried to wait to recover and how we were going to do it, maybe I could meet the team in Miami, give me a week to stay here and get healthy. He told me he wanted the chemistry of the team, he wanted everyone together from the first day. I said ‘Yeah, that’s fine. If you don’t find somebody, you can call me.’ I leave my door open to go but that’s his decision and I just have to get healthy.”

It was the right move, especially now we know that this whole shoulder thing was a bit worse than previously thought.

Ramirez also took it slow leading into last season’s spring training games, not initially throwing during the first few workouts on the back fields at JetBlue Park. But by the time March 2 came around, he was at first base with clearance to throw away.

Exactly one year later, Ramirez offered some comparison when asked if the achy right shoulder felt the same.

“That’s a little different because last year I was able to throw. This year is a little bit different,” said Ramirez, who explained he started feeling the tightness a “couple of days” after arriving in camp. “Right now we’re looking good.”

Without the pressures of the WBC, or even having to play first base, Ramirez can now take his time. Which is good, because it appears as though he is going to need it.

“It’s a long spring,” said Ramirez, who hit his first home run of the spring Thursday. “We’re going to go slowly. Like I said, I’ve got to be ready for April.”

Eduardo Rodriguez sure looked like he might be ready to pick up slack in Red Sox rotation

03.02.17 at 5:05 pm ET
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Eduardo Rodriguez (Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports)

Eduardo Rodriguez (Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — It was just a March 2 spring training game. But the image of Eduardo Rodriguez at JetBlue Park offered a better-than-average impression.

It wasn’t the worse thing in the world for the Red Sox, especially considering the news involving David Price earlier in the day. (To read more about Price, click here.)

Making his first Grapefruit League appearance of the season, having been eased back into things due to his December knee injury, Rodriguez didn’t allow a baserunner against the Rays. The lefty struck out two over two innings before giving way to Craig Kimbrel.

“Quality work by both,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said after his team’s 19-2 win over Tampa Bay. “It was very good to see Eddie go out and establish his fastball in the first inning. In his first outing in spring training, he was in command, he was powerful in the first. I liked the way he used some secondary pitches in his second inning. He was able to get a quality two innings of work. Craig as well. He came in and threw both pitches for strikes. The work that he’s been doing leading up to his first appearance and just establishing that consistent delivery, that was on display in the one inning of work for him.

“Both guys were very encouraging, particularly in light of some of the early-morning news today.”

Rodriguez, who seemed on the edge of potentially not making the rotation before the news involving Price’s elbow, showed the kind of stuff Farrell has continuously raved about leading up to his first spring training outing in almost two years.

“I just want to show I can be in the big leagues and when I show that I’m for ready my opportunity to be on the staff, in the starting rotation,” Rodriguez said. He then added about Price, “I don’t know nothing about that or how he is right now. I just want him to be fine. I don’t want somebody to hurt. Just want him to get back and I want to fight for my spot like I’m supposed to.”

As for the Red Sox’ offense, leading the way was Jackie Bradley Jr., who hit two home runs. Also going deep were Hanley Ramirez, Bryce Brentz and Steve Selsky.

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