The Los Angeles Dodgers opened Spring Training this year with an abundance of starting pitchers, which prompted David Price to approach president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman to express his willingness to accept a role out of the bullpen.
Price was joined there by Tony Gonsolin, and manager Dave Roberts believed having multiple starting pitchers in the bullpen for the Dodgers’ Opening Day roster would provide the team with valuable versatility.
However, that did not last long as Gonsolin wound up missing the first 60 games of the season because of right shoulder inflammation, and additional injuries required Price to join the starting rotation.
It required a balancing act as Price worked to stretch out — typically done in Spring Training — while making regular starts.
But with Gonsolin now back after a second IL stint because of right shoulder trouble and Clayton Kershaw due to return Monday, the Dodgers have put Price back in the bullpen.
“It’s kind of where we originally intended. To take down leverage innings in the ‘pen, he gets left and right out, he can go two innings, go three if we need it, or if it’s an inning in a short burst and be ready the next day,” Roberts said of Price’s role moving forward.
“Now it’s kind of settling back into the role we intended for him at the outset (of the 2021 season).”
Price is 4-2 with a 3.78 ERA, 4.03 FIP and 1.36 WHIP in 34 games (11 starts) so far this season.
Price recovered from elbow trouble
Heading into last weekend’s series at Oracle Park, the Dodgers were expecting to have Price start in the series opener against the San Francisco Giants. However, they instead went with a full-blown bullpen game and he did not appear because of left elbow trouble.
Price appeared poised for an IL stint but pitched out of the bullpen in the series finale. He’s yet to enter a game since, but that is not believed to be because of health.
“With David and injuries, I’ll never know the whole truth. He said he’s good to go,” Roberts said. “I don’t think it’s an issue right now. Getting that blow that he had a week ago, I think helped. He’s on line and he’s going to help us in whatever role that we need.”
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