David Price is officially back and Rays fans know that the sky is the limit for him in his return to the major leagues. Well, maybe not quite yet. Joe Maddon told Marc Topkin that Price will be limited to 90 pitches and said that he would be happy if Price went 6 innings. It’s exciting that Price is coming back, but the pitch limit corresponds perfectly to what expectations should be like for him early on–we know he can be one of the best pitchers in baseball, but he has to work his way back into form. No matter how well Price is pitching, even if he’s throwing a perfect game, he’s coming out after 90 pitches. And on the other hand, whether Price succeeds or struggles, it’s only his first step back. No one, not even David Price, can not pitch in the major leagues for a month and a half and just snap his fingers to pick up right where he left off.
“Oh my God, it’s going to be like Opening Day for him.” – Joe Maddon on David Price
While the Rays and the rest of baseball have moved on, David Price has been starting over. He slowly resumed his workouts and built up his arm before finally entering some games over the past couple of weeks as he prepares for big league action. It must have been a bizarre dichotomy for Price seeing his teammates fighting hard to win games as he took things slowly. As he worked out by himself, Price could imagine that he had gone back in time to the offseason, but then he would turn on the TV and see his teammates and friends playing like it was any other June day. But now the time lapse is rapidly closing and Price is ready to reclaim his spot at the top o the Rays’ rotation. It won’t happen immediately–like if we were in the last week in spring training, Price still has to build up his arm and adjust to facing big league hitters again. David Price’s real start to the season did not go too well as he managed just a 5.24 ERA in 9 starts. But just give him a little time, and he will go right back to being the dominant pitcher we know he can be.