Price has elected not to play this season, he announced on his personal Twitter page Saturday. Price cited his health and his family's health as his reasons for sitting out the season during the coronavirus pandemic, becoming the highest-profile player thus far to opt out. He now won't be suiting up for his new team until the start of the 2021 season. His absence creates a hole in the Dodgers' rotation, with Dustin May looking like the most likely beneficiary.
Price has been playing catch and doing arm exercises during Major League Baseball's hiatus, Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reports. Though Price has done his best to keep his arm ready throughout the suspension of play made necessary by the COVID-19 pandemic, he speculated Tuesday that there will be a need for another training camp before players are prepared to begin the regular season. The southpaw, who is penciled as the Dodgers' No. 3 starter, pitched in only two Cactus League contests before spring training was suspended.
Price struck out seven and issued one walk across three no-hit innings Saturday in the Dodgers' 7-1 win over the Rockies in Cactus League play. The southpaw surrendered two runs in his spring debut earlier this month, but since he still struck out three in that outing, his K:BB stands at a magnificent 10:3 through 4.1 innings. While spring stats aren't always indicators of what's to come, the fact that Price is inducing swings and misses and a high rate early on is a promising sign. At the very least, Price looks to be healthy again after he required offseason surgery to address a cyst on his left wrist, an issue that he said often made it difficult for him to get a proper feel for his pitches in 2019.
Price gave up two runs in 1.1 innings against the Reds on Monday, allowing three hits and two walks while striking out three. While the results of his first appearance as a Dodger weren't favorable, Price indicated that he felt good in the outing, per Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times. "I have feeling in my fingers, in my hand. It's not freezing cold. It's got blood flow. It's warm. It's a different feeling. It's nice." The southpaw's comments suggest that the circulation issue that bothered him last season is a thing of the past following offseason surgery to remove a cyst in his left wrist. That leaves Price firmly entrenched as the No. 3 starter in the Dodgers' rotation.
Price will pitch exclusively out of the stretch this season, David Vassegh of AM 570 LA Sports reports. The decision could theoretically improve Price's profile this season, though it likely won't have a major impact. Batters managed an identical .319 wOBA against Price last season whether or not there were men on base, though the lefty did at least slash his walk rate in half (from 9.0 percent to 4.5 percent) with runners on.
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