FORT MYERS, Fla. — The first pitch David Price threw Thursday was lined off the wall in left field, an easy double for Minnesota’s Brian Dozier.
Price worked out of that jam but could not end the second inning before Eduardo Escobar and Kurt Suzuki hit back-to-back home runs. The crowd of 10,103 at JetBlue Park seemed shocked.
In his first appearance in a Red Sox uniform, Price took the loss in an 8-2 setback. But what mattered to him was getting through three innings, throwing 51 pitches and feeling healthy.
“I’m process-oriented [in spring training],” said Price. “I’m not results-oriented at all. Can’t worry about the results. Have to stay focused on your process, and that’s what I do.”
Price threw his four-seam and two-seam fastballs, changeups, cutters, and one curveball. He walked one and struck out three.
And, no, it wasn’t strange to look down and see “Red Sox” across his chest.
“I think I’m past that stage,” he said. “Being in here with the guys for three or four weeks now, that awkward stage is gone.”
Manager John Farrell called it a good workday for Price. Through three weeks of camp, the lefthander is everything the Red Sox wanted.
“You see the things that you heard indirectly come to life,” said Farrell. “Whether it’s the ease in which he’s filtered into our clubhouse, the way he’s interacted with new teammates. The way he’s gone about his work, very structured, very professional approach.
“With each new challenge that we experience together, you see how he handles those.”
It appears unlikely that lefthander Eduardo Rodriguez will be on the Opening Day roster for the Red Sox. He is about out of time to get ready.
Rodriguez no longer has swelling in his right knee, Farrell said. But he remains limited to playing long toss.
“Through repetition, he’s gained some confidence in that landing leg that was affected by the knee issue,” Farrell said. “Still no time frame or date to get him on the mound yet.”
Said Rodriguez: “My knee feels better but I don’t know when I’ll pitch. Not yet.”
Farrell said Rodriguez would need at least two bullpen sessions before he is able to pitch in a game.
“We’ve held off mapping out anything beyond his first bullpen, and we’re not even there yet,” he said.
The Sox will not rush Rodriguez to have him ready for the fourth or fifth game of the season. They have Roenis Elias, Henry Owens, and Steven Wright available as starters.
“We have to do what’s right by the player,” said Farrell. “You have to manage the situation for six, seven, potentially eight months rather than seven days.
“The one thing that we want to do is make sure the progression and the foundation is as strong as it possibly can be for the remainder of the season.
“We have to go by how the player is responding to whatever ailment he’s dealing with. We can’t shortcut that because there’s a date on the calendar that’s nearing.”
Rodriguez was injured Feb. 27 when his spikes caught in the grass, causing a momentary dislocation of his kneecap.
Get a look at them
The Red Sox had 20-year-old Yoan Moncada start against the Pirates Wednesday. Farrell said the team also planned to get a look at several other prospects before breaking camp. Third baseman Rafael Devers, 19, and outfielder Andrew Benintendi, 20, are the two leading candidates to draw starts. Devers had a .773 OPS at Single A Greenville last season. Benintendi was a first-round pick in 2015. He hit .313 with a .972 OPS in 54 minor league games last season.
Until Thursday, the Red Sox had not turned on the radar gun at JetBlue Park. Farrell explained that he didn’t want the pitchers getting caught up in their velocity the first time through the rotation . . . Minnesota pitchers had a perfect game until Dan Butler singled with one out in the sixth inning . . . Hanley Ramirez played eight innings in the field and had an uneventful day at first base. Farrell said cutoffs and relays remain an area to work on . . . A group of players and coaches from the Holy Cross baseball team watched batting practice from the field. The Crusaders are in the middle of a five-game trip to Florida. Senior shortstop Nick Lovullo, the son of Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo, has started all 11 games for Holy Cross.