Sometimes you can tell a lot from a tweet.
At 2:35 p.m. ET Friday, after getting his sore left elbow checked by two prominent orthopedic surgeons, David Price fired off 127 characters from his personal account. He touched on the weather in Indianapolis ("a little chilly"), shared his travel plans ("gonna head back to fort myers!") and joked about how he might fare at the NFL scouting combine, which was taking place nearby ("My 40 time was 4.11").
Price must have run out of space before he could divulge his diagnosis to the countless Boston Red Sox fans who had been holding their breath since Thursday morning. But it didn't take a psychic to tell that this didn't seem like a pitcher who just found out his season would be ending before it ever began.
Sure enough, two hours later, Red Sox manager John Farrell delivered the news that allowed an entire organization to exhale with its $217 million ace lefty: Price does not need elbow surgery, Tommy John or otherwise.
But wait, it gets better for the Sox.
Price won't even need an injection of platelet-rich plasma, a treatment that typically helps a pitcher only buy more time before facing an inevitable procedure. Instead, Dr. James Andrews and Dr. Neal ElAttrache agreed that Price should rest for a week, maybe 10 days, after rejoining the team Saturday and take anti-inflammatory medication to reduce the swelling near his ulnar collateral ligament that caused an unusual amount of soreness after his 38-pitch simulated game Tuesday.
Rest and treatment. That's it. At this point, neither Andrews nor ElAttrache feels the need for even a follow-up exam with Price, according to a major league source.
Talk about a sigh of relief for a former Cy Young Award winner.
"A very positive exam given the concern a couple days ago," Farrell told reporters in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, after the Red Sox's 9-1 exhibition victory over the Atlanta Braves. "We definitely feel it's a best-case scenario."
Indeed, the Red Sox can move forward with their plan to chase another American League East crown on the strength of their "big three" starters: Price, lefty Chris Sale and reigning AL Cy Young winner Rick Porcello.
But while they managed to avert the crisis that would have been a season-ending injury to Price, it won't exactly be business as usual for the 31-year-old, who has thrown more pitches (11,225) to more batters (2,992) over more innings (733 1/3) than any pitcher in the last three seasons.
Considering Price has not yet made a spring training start (he was supposed to pitch Sunday against the Braves) and won't throw so much as another bullpen session until mid-March, he won't be ready to begin the season on time. Price has gone on the disabled list only once in his career, for six weeks in 2013 with a strained left triceps, but almost certainly is headed for a return trip until his arm strength is properly built up.
In other words, pencil in Price for late April. And for a guy who dealt with uncharacteristic inconsistency last season and another playoff face-plant after signing the richest contract ever for a pitcher, the last thing he needed was a health scare.
It all began Wednesday, the morning after Price's simulated game, when he awoke with soreness that was more intense than he typically experiences in spring training. An MRI exam taken by the Red Sox's medical staff revealed swelling and fluid but was categorized "inconclusive," according to Farrell, when it came to determining whether the UCL in Price's elbow was torn.
The team made arrangements to send Price to Indianapolis, where Andrews and ElAttrache are evaluating the health of NFL prospects. Price flew there Thursday and was seen Friday by both doctors, appointments that made the state of his high-mileage elbow seem all the more ominous.
Andrews, in particular, often is the expert whose highly sought opinion sends pitchers to the operating room. But there are times when his diagnosis provides peace of mind that their elbows and shoulders can heal without surgery. Andrews advised former Red Sox right-hander Clay Buchholz against shoulder surgery in 2015 and did the same a year earlier when Sox setup man Tyler Thornburg, then with the Milwaukee Brewers, went to see him for an elbow injury.
Price is one of the lucky ones. Heck, maybe making three or four fewer starts in the regular season will even leave him with more in the tank for the playoffs.
And just imagine the tweets Price will send out then.