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David Price is raring to go for Red Sox

The Red Sox became David Price’s third AL East team once Dave Dombrowski brought him aboard in December.Winslow Townson/Associated Press/File 2015

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The savior arrived at JetBlue Park at 8:45 a.m. Tuesday, and no, he wasn’t struggling to carry the sack full of money with him.

The $217 million man is no stranger to carrying a burden, however, because he has done so in Tampa Bay, Detroit, and Toronto, and was happy to do it. So that part won’t be weighing him down in Boston.

David Price has been nothing but happy throughout his career, if you go by what any teammate has said. And on this day, he didn’t seem to have a care in the world. He comes off as a genuinely nice person with an equally genuine love for the game and a desire to be the best.


He’ll tell you that he’ll always have a smile on his face, win or lose, but his ex-teammates will tell you there’s no one more competitive. They’ll tell you there’s no better teammate.

He’ll tell you that he wants to savor every moment in a baseball uniform, because he knows it won’t last as long as he wants it to last. He has every reason to be happy now. With his seven-year contract, he is financially secure at age 30. His life outside the game seems to be top-notch. He doesn’t want for anything. He has a Cy Young Award and has made five All-Star teams.

But he doesn’t have a championship ring. And that’s the biggest burden he’ll carry in his Red Sox career. If he needs anyone to advise him on that topic, he can ask Pablo Sandoval and David Ortiz, two of the greatest postseason performers of all time.

If the Red Sox can flip Price’s 2-7 postseason record, there could be another banner hoisted at Fenway Park in 2016.

If Price can’t escape the postseason demons, it will be a disappointing outcome, and nobody wants that from such a massive investment.


So Price got to camp early and started acclimating to his new life, the Red Sox being his third American League East team.

After years in Port Charlotte with the Rays and Lakeland with the Tigers, JetBlue Park was impressive.

“This is a crazy-nice facility,” said Price. “I heard from [Toronto righthander] Marcus Stroman that this is the closest thing to the Arizona spring training facilities. This is very nice.”

Price spent the offseason working out at Vanderbilt in Nashville, where he became a No. 1 draft pick by the Rays in 2007. He got to camp early, he said, because “I just want to get my body going. Want to meet all of the guys and get familiar with my surroundings.”

His offseason was fairly normal. Price usually doesn’t deviate from his routine.

“Yeah, it was fine,” he said. “Once I signed, everything fell into place. We wanted to get that over with early so I could enjoy my offseason, which we were able to do.”

He’ll be competing against a new set of ex-teammates in the Blue Jays, who have some of the game’s best hitters in AL MVP Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista, and Edwin Encarnacion. He’ll also continue his rivalry against his ex-Rays teammates, including Chris Archer, whom he mentored.

“It’s fun to stay around guys that you’ve played with for a long time and see their maturation,” said Price. “It’s great to be able to face off against Arch and Stroman and stay competitive against them.”


Price’s presence already has had a calming effect on other Boston starters. Rick Porcello said Price can take the pressure off each guy after him.

“I hope so,” said Price. “I don’t think that’s my mind-set, trying to take pressure off others, but if I can go out there and get the ball rolling early, it makes it easier for guys that come after me. I just need to be myself and be a good teammate.”

He is looking forward to competing in the AL East again.

“When I was in the Central, it was tough as well,” he said. “The East is tough considering the ballparks you have to pitch in, where in the Central, the parks are bigger and more pitcher-friendly.

“In the East, the only real pitchers-friendly park is Tampa, where others are hitters-friendly. Right-center at Fenway is pitcher-friendly, but for the most part, they’re tougher to pitch in, and it keeps you on your P’s and Q’s and you just have to pay attention.”

And now he has to oppose the Blue Jays rather than reap the benefits of that lineup as he did when he compiled a 9-1 record and 2.30 ERA in 11 starts last season after being acquired from Detroit.

But once the postseason started, Price wasn’t the same. He allowed five runs over seven innings against Texas in his only ALDS start. He allowed five runs in 6⅔ innings against Kansas City in an ALCS start.


Price said he’s always tinkering with new pitches, and will again, but not necessarily during games. When asked what pitch he’d love to add, he said “a knuckleball.” He laughed off the suggestion, but he’d get plenty of help from Steven Wright and Tim Wakefield if he went that route.

On Tuesday, he spent his time running and playing catch with Wright. Price showed Wright his knuckleball and Wright showed Price his. Price almost missed one of them, which could have been dangerous.

He already seems to like his new teammates. He talked about sitting on the bench with the Blue Jays and telling them to watch his fellow Tennessean, Mookie Betts, because he may have the fastest hands in baseball; Price said Betts reminds him of Andrew McCutchen.

Price spoke a lot about taking care of himself even more since he has turned 30.

He said he has faith in himself and he knows Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski trusts that Price will do the right things.

Price said he got a good education by watching former teammate James Shields transition into his 30s, so he has a good sense of what needs to be done — when to do more and when to do less.

He feels his postseason record will turn around because there’s no rhyme or reason to it. Maybe it’s the result of pitching more than 220 innings and then being spent by October. Roger Clemens had that problem for a while, but he turned it around. Price is confident he will as well.


But that time is many months away.

On this day, Price just wanted to start the next phase of his career, not thinking about anything except that he’s now with the Boston Red Sox.

He left as he came in, with a smile on his face.

There was no burden, no pressure, no looking too far ahead, no playoff record to defend.

Nick Cafardo can be reached at Follow him on Twitter@nickcafardo.