Dodgers starter David Price has yet to appear in a Spring Training game this March. After sitting out all of 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns, and not pitching in a big league game since the end of 2019, Dave Roberts isn’t pushing Price too hard too early.
When asked on Thursday, Doc admitted that the team was slow playing Price as he ramps up this spring.
I mean, I guess so. I think, that, just appreciating what he’s done over the last couple of years and didn’t pitch at all last year. I think ultimately, as we get started into the season, through the season, make sure he’s at optimum some point in time, but right now, we just feel like we have time, there’s no reason to push him right now.
Price last threw in a major league game on September 1, 2019, opting for a season-ending wrist operation. He did make two spring training starts last year as a Dodger, but only totaled 4.1 innings pitched. It’s safe to say that there are some concerns with rust. Roberts shared his thoughts.
I think that there certainly probably will be. When you’re talking about competitive regular season games, maybe. But right now, with what I’ve seen, I’ve just seen a rested arm. A player that excited to get back to competing, to playing. And so, knowing his track record, being a veteran, I wouldn’t expect too much of that though to be quite honest.
The Dodgers have seven viable starting pitching options. Seven! They have the luxury of waiting to fully install Price into the rotation. As they’ve done in the past, Dustin May or Tony Gonsolin can fill in as starters if Price isn’t fully stretched out early on. Rushing a starter with over 2,000 innings under his belt is not a wise decision.
Dodgers Slow Play David Price, Bellinger Progressing, Pitchers Stretching Out to Start Early
Roberts isn’t new to slow playing high profile starters. Walker Buehler didn’t throw more than 90 pitches in a start in 2020 until halfway through season. Buehler still dominated in the playoffs despite the slow start.
Clearly, ensuring Price is at his best in July, not March, is the priority for Dave Roberts and the Dodgers.