Price passes next step in elbow recovery

Price passes next step in elbow recovery

BOSTON -- The latest step in David Price's recovery from a sore left elbow was a side session that simulated innings, allowing the lefty to take breaks as if he was pitching in a real game.

"That's always probably the toughest part of Spring Training, that's always the biggest part for a pitcher," said Price. "It's not the amount of pitches you throw. It's throwing pitches and then taking that break and then getting back up and doing it again. That's always one of the tougher parts in Spring Training, that's kind of what I'm going through right now."

As far as Price could tell, it was a productive exercise.

"It went good," said Price. "Got up and down a couple of times and see how we feel tomorrow."

If Price responds favorably to Saturday's session, he could face some hitters by early next week.

"Ideally it would be," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "But again, I think we just see how things come out tomorrow. As we've done with each -- the next phase of the throwing, the different types of throwing from long toss to the bullpen being included to what the next step is -- we'll sit with David and kind of map out what we feel is best according to his physical response."

Price still hasn't thrown breaking balls off the mound, but he has done so repeatedly on flat ground.

"The one thing that we're trying to do is not throw a number of variables in at the same time so there's a progression," said Farrell. "You go from the long toss to the flat ground to spinning a breaking ball. Then incorporate the angle of the mound. Incorporate some ups and downs, and then also at that point where you start to add in a full assortment of pitches. So there's a little bit more of a systematic approach toward the addition of each variable going forward."

The Red Sox won't place any timetable on Price's return to action until he starts a Minor League rehab assignment. But Price is confident that he can return to form once he is back.

"Yeah, I expect to be myself," Price said. "I don't see any dropoff or anything like that. We've put in the work and I expect to be myself whenever I come back."

Worth noting

Jackie Bradley Jr. and Josh Rutledge will both run the bases before Monday's game, and if that goes well, they will be cleared to start a Minor League rehab assignment on Tuesday for Triple-A Pawtucket. Bradley has a sprained right knee and is eligible to return to the Red Sox on Wednesday. Rutledge strained his left hamstring late in Spring Training and is eligible to come off the DL whenever he is ready.

Farrell had mentioned Friday that Bradley could be back as soon as he's eligible. But there's a chance the club will make a more conservative approach that would have him ready for the weekend series in Baltimore.

• The Red Sox, who have had a disjointed start to the season offensively, had a hitters' meeting prior to Saturday's game in the indoor batting cage next to the dugout.

"Just a conversation," said Farrell. "Here's the thing: We've strung some very good games together. We're seeing some guys start to get their timing more consistently. The one thing we continue to preach is not for one guy to think he has to be the hero in the moment. I don't think that's shown its head, but what [hitting coach] Chili [Davis] has done, he's been fairly consistent with periodic meetings as reminders of things we might be looking for on [an opposing] pitcher on a given night."

• The Red Sox spotted some things that might have led to Rick Porcello's rough outing Friday, when he was pounded for eight runs, including a career-high four homers.

"There was maybe a tendency on his part to try to create more velocity, which causes him to yank some pitches, and then as he was going through his delivery, there was more tendency to drift and not be in sync in his timing, and that's what leads to the mislocated pitches," said Farrell. "This isn't about health. It's not about anything physical. It's about repeating the delivery and executing."

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.