FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Boston Red Sox officials are finally conceding what has seemed to be inevitable for nearly two weeks. David Price is likely to begin the season on the disabled list while he recovers from a strained left elbow.
"At this point, yeah," manager John Farrell said Tuesday before the Sox hosted the Toronto Blue Jays at JetBlue Park. "It would be hard to see him ready to go at the start of the season."
Price still has not made a start this spring. The Red Sox shut him down March 1 because he experienced an unusual degree of stiffness in his elbow after a two-inning simulated game. Two days later, Price traveled to Indianapolis to be examined by Drs. James Andrews and Neal ElAttrache, and the prominent orthopedic surgeons concurred that he wouldn't need surgery.
Although Price has played light catch since Saturday, first against a net and later with another person, and was upbeat Monday in talking about his progress, neither he nor the Red Sox have outlined a timetable for when he will begin more rigorous throwing or get back on the mound.
With Opening Day now less than three weeks away, he almost certainly won't have time to build the requisite arm strength to open the season.
"We really won't have any kind of idea until he gets on the mound the first time, and right now, I don't know when that's going to be," Farrell said. "Everyone's going to want to know, what's the next step? What's the next phase? I will tell you, this is going to be dependent upon how David goes through the morning rehab and the exercises that he goes through, what he feels he's capable of that day, within reason.
"It was at the doctor's recommendation -- 'Do not put him on a structured throwing program.' It may be either too quick or too slow, depending on how he feels. A lot of what's driving this on a daily throwing schedule is how David feels. We don't have [directions] that there needs to be X number of sessions at 60 feet and then we're going to progress."
Price admitted Monday that he has been getting restless. When he picked up a ball and tossed it against a trampoline last Thursday, a few days earlier than anticipated, he said the Red Sox's trainers "were freaking out." But Price also noted that "a lot of bad things can happen" if he sets a date to resume pitching and then is unable to meet it.
"I show up, we figure out what we're going to do today, and whatever we do, we want to make sure I can bounce back and feel good tomorrow," Price said. "I'm learning some good values on patience right now."
With Price on the shelf, lefties Eduardo Rodriguez and Drew Pomeranz would join knuckleballer Steven Wright in a rotation fronted by reigning Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello and recently acquired ace Chris Sale.