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FORT MYERS, Fla. — There were approximately 30 people in the stands at JetBlue Park on Saturday morning when David Price took the mound. That counts the team executives sitting behind the plate, a handful of reporters, and two workers power-washing the seats.

It did not make for much of an atmosphere. But pitching coach Carl Willis, who stood behind the mound to call balls and strikes, was impressed with Price’s diligence.

“His focus and intensity and attention to detail, I don’t know if you could have told there was any difference,” Willis said.

Price pitched two shutout innings, throwing 38 pitches. He faced 11 hitters, allowing two hits with one walk and two strikeouts.


The opposing “lineup” for the simulated game consisted of Rusney Castillo, Pablo Sandoval, Chris Young, Ryan Hanigan, David Murphy, and Ali Solis. The only other player on Price’s team was catcher Christian Vazquez.

Price allowed hits by Sandoval and Young. He threw mostly fastballs but mixed in a few curveballs, changeups, and cutters.

“It was the first time I’ve thrown, sat down, got back up, and thrown again. Everything felt good,” Price said. “I was working on fastball command and making sure everything was going in the right direction and under control.”

Willis and Vazquez both mentioned how Price was able to spot the ball on the outside corner of the plate against righthanded hitters.

“Wow,” Vazquez said. “He was painting that corner. I was impressed with that.”

Price will next pitch on Thursday against the Minnesota Twins at Fenway South. That lines him up to make five starts in spring training before facing the Cleveland Indians on April 4 for Opening Day.

Price is happy to be back in his five-day routine.

“The first 10 days of spring training are always kind of tough. There’s nothing you can do to prepare for it,” he said. “I don’t care how much you work out, how much you run. Those first 10 days of having cleats on and being on your feet all day; that can wear on you . . . Everything feels normal now and I’m ready to go.”


Price, who was signed to a seven-year, $217 million contract in December, said he has only one goal in mind as he prepares for the season.

“Make every start. Be available every fifth day,” he said. “I don’t have personal goals. I guess if I had one it’s to throw 200 innings. If you do that, you’re making 33-34 starts. If you make 33 starts and you go six innings every start, you’re just under 200.

“That plateau is something I want to get to every year. Be available and be consistent.”

Price has pitched at least 208 innings in five of his seven full seasons in the majors.

Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.