David Price 'extremely thankful' David Ortiz embraced him

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- One day later, new Boston Red Sox starter David Price still can't believe how cool it was to clear the air with Big Papi.

"I didn't know what to expect," Price said Tuesday morning of his Monday clubhouse meeting with David Ortiz. "He told me he had my back. It started with a handshake and ended with a hug, so it couldn't have went any better."

"I might not have shown it, but it's something I thought about extremely often."
David Price on seeing David Ortiz at Red Sox camp

In an interview with WEEI on Tuesday morning, Price said he "was extremely thankful for that and I told him that."

The two have an acrimonious past, dating back to the days when Price was with the Tampa Bay Rays. At one point, Ortiz said, "it's a war" and claimed he no longer had respect for Price. Price objected to the "war" terminology and said Ortiz "looks like he's bigger than the game of baseball."

With that history in mind, Price wondered what would happen when they finally met as teammates. The question wormed its way into Price's psyche, and he played out the scenario in his head.

"I needed that. I really needed that," Price told WEEI in his radio interview.

"It was something, I might not have shown it, but it's something I thought about extremely often, whether it was being in the training room or the weight room for an hour, and then coming back in here, 'Is he going to be here?' Or waking up the next morning, driving to the field, 'Is he going to be in the clubhouse? Is he going to be in the food room when I walk in there? What do I do when I see him?' I didn't know. I was just in limbo."

Price's impression of Big Papi now?

"Just everything I've heard," he told reporters. "I didn't know Big Papi the person. I only knew the baseball player. That's what makes this game so special -- to get to know people on a personal level, because that's the stuff that lasts forever. Baseball is going to end for everybody at some point. You have the relationships and friendships to take away from it."

Asked if he might consider throwing a pitch behind Ortiz during live batting practice just as a joke, Price said, "No, I am not. I am not. I don't think I have the control right now to throw one behind somebody, so it's not something I'll be doing."

On Tuesday, Ortiz said he's always believed that whatever happens on the field stays on the field.

"But that doesn't mean that David was a bad guy or a bad person," Ortiz said. "He was trying to do whatever he thinks was right to do on the field. And that's how we go about our business. We're teammates now. Even going through whatever we went through, I know that he is a good guy. I know that he's a good person. You ask around, and that's exactly what people tell you.

"Everybody's got their moment. We're playing together now. They brought him in to try to win the championship here. In my case, I'm going to be his No. 1 supporter."

Price said this week that he still takes an old-school view of home-run celebrations, like John Smoltz and Tom Glavine did.

Ortiz, asked if he will be mindful of Price's perspective after he hits his first home run this season with Price on the team, said, "Everybody's different. I don't ask anyone to be like me because I don't think that it will be fair. David's got his style, which I respect. I got mine, and I know he respects it, too. That's how it goes. The most important thing is we're on the same roster on the same team."

Price said the vibe in the clubhouse changed dramatically Monday, but that might have had as much to do with the arrival of Dustin Pedroia as Big Papi.

"I had heard whenever Pedey gets in, it's going to be a lot louder," Price said. "And that's awesome. Once I get comfortable and I can spend some time here, I can bring some different things as well. Everybody brings something different to the clubhouse. Everybody brings something different to the field. To me, that's what it's all about -- seeing people when they're comfortable, because that's when your true colors come out."