David Price is going back to how it all began.
At 32 years old, the former Cy Young winner was activated off the disabled list by the Red Sox in time for Thursday’s series finale against the Oakland A’s and will pitch out of the bullpen in a multi-inning role for the remainder of the season, manager John Farrell announced. He’ll be first available to pitch on Sunday or Monday, Farrell said.
Price first began his major league career as a reliever with the Tampa Bay Rays at the end of the 2008 season, then pitched out of the ‘pen while helping the Rays make a run to the World Series. He was also used out of the ‘pen for a three-inning outing with the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2015 postseason.
He’s had some success in that role, making six playoff relief appearances with a 4.15 ERA. As a starter in the postseason, Price’s teams have gone 0-9 while he’s posted a 5.74 ERA during those contests.
Recovering from soreness related to a partial tear in his elbow he suffered during spring training, Price had been on the DL for the second time this season and hasn’t pitched in a game since late July.
He threw 47 pitches in a simulated game on Wednesday and pronounced himself ready to return, regardless of the role chosen for him.
“Just want to pitch, whatever it is,” he said.
Doug Fister had excelled in Price’s spot out of the rotation, though Fister allowed six runs while taking the loss on Wednesday.
Price is likely to pitch some key innings for the Red Sox down the stretch, particularly given the struggles of Matt Barnes and Joe Kelly, who each have an ERA over 4.70 since Aug. 1.
“I think there will be some spots that will emerge naturally,” Farrell said. “I think the one thing that he has shown in these two work sessions is the full assortment of pitches, good power to his fastball. From just a physical standpoint, I think he’s passed those tests to put him in this position and looking forward to getting him back to game activity.”
A relief role could suit Price well. He’s mentioned that throwing breaking balls is what causes him the most discomfort, and he was throwing only 7 percent curveballs when he was pitching as a starter anyway, instead focusing on his hard stuff (four-seamer, two-seamer, cutter), which he threw about 80 percent of the time, occasionally mixing in his changeup.
Farrell said he’ll try to give Price as much advance notice as possible before he pitches in order to make the transition easier. That…