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David Price starts to throw again

David Price began to throw lightly on Saturday in Fort Myers, Fla. Stan Grossfeld/Globe staff/File

FORT MYERS, Fla. — It’s always big news when your $31 million-per-year pitcher starts throwing a baseball again. It was simply catch in the batting cage but it was a big first step that David Price threw Saturday after receiving clearance from the medical staff to resume light activity.

After undergoing strength tests in his left shoulder and elbow, Price got the green light. When he returns to the mound or in a game is anyone’s guess. But Price said that he will go north and stay with the team until he’s ready to go on a rehab assignment.

The best guess for his return is early May if things continue to improve.


Price felt tightness and soreness in his forearm/elbow after a Feb. 28 outing and he was diagnosed with an elbow strain and shut down for 10 days. The Sox then slowed the process, wanting to make sure his arm was sound.

Manager John Farrell said Price would continue a throwing program with no set distance or volume determined. “Felt good. Felt normal. No restrictions. Range of motion, no pain, no discomfort doing anything. It’s been good. So it was a good day,” Price said.

"Some guys can handle the DL and be all right, and some guys, the DL’s not meant for them,” Price added. “I feel like I’m one of those guys. It’s tough, but I’m getting through it. I’ve been through this before. It’s not something you want to have to go through, but if you do it the right way and treat it the right way, you can come back stronger and ready to go.”

Price was asked whether the high number of innings he’s pitched over the years might have caught up to him.

“Not really. I feel like once you get to September, August, you’re going to feel the same all the time. I’ve never felt bad in September, August, or October,” he said. “I’ve always felt strong. I work hard, I take care of myself.


“You look at a lot of guys over the history of baseball, they’ve thrown a lot of innings and been able to stay healthy and have really long careers and stuff of that nature. That’s what I aspire to do. It’s just a little hiccup right here, and I’ll get through it.”

How about pitching at maximum effort all the time? Could that be contributing to his issues?

“I don’t know, man. I don’t have a crystal ball. I don’t think so. I don’t think Nolan Ryan was flipping up heaters up there. He was max effort. Pedro [Martinez] looked to be max effort. Clayton Kershaw, I guess he’s had some problems, but he’s a max-effort guy,” Price said.

Swihart in the mix

Blake Swihart is causing some roster commotion. While it still seems unlikely Swihart could make the team because Christian Vazquez has no minor league options left and Sandy Leon is the projected starter, Farrell said there is a still a three-man competition for the two catching spots.

Swihart, who is hitting .325, will likely start the season as Pawtucket’s starting catcher.

“We haven’t made a final decision as of yet,” Farrell said. “We’re targeting the early part of this coming week to make that call. [Swihart’s] had a strong camp. Not to overlook anyone but he and Marco Hernandez have had a tremendous spring. Our final 25-man roster, though, can’t be based solely on batting average.”


Farrell, who said that Steven Wright would not have his own personal catcher, feels all three catchers can handle the knuckleball.

Farrell could also be saying this publicly to motivate Leon and Vazquez — to get them going offensively. Leon is hitting .261 and has picked it up lately. Vazquez is hitting .231.

Kendrick does his part

Kyle Kendrick continues to have an strong spring, pitching six innings, allowing eight hits, two runs, with no walks and six strikeouts in the Sox’ 3-3 tie with the visiting Phillies.

“He’s been everything we hoped he’d be when we first signed him,” Farrell said.

Kendrick, who has one more spring start Thursday, was asked if he’s done everything he could do this spring said, “Feel like it. It’s out of my control. All I can do is go out there and pitch. I feel great and I just have to keep it going.”

Kendrick, who will likely start the season in Pawtucket, has contract opt-outs June 15 and Aug. 15.

Thornburg to go Monday

Tyler Thornburg may not make it back for Opening Day. He is scheduled to make his second appearance since returning from arm soreness on Monday. Thornburg threw 20 pitches in his one inning this spring.

While Farrell guesses the reliever may get three appearances before the team breaks for Washington on Thursday, he’s not sure that will be enough to get him on the Opening Day roster.

Sandoval has right stuff

In Port Charlotte in a split-squad game against the Rays, Pablo Sandoval smoked a three-run homer off lefty Blake Snell. It was Sandoval’s first homer against a lefty since August 2014. He’s now hitting .353/.365/.686 with four homers in 16 games this spring. “I’m just focused to keep working hard, keep working in the cage from both sides of the plate. That’s one of the things that I was looking forward to doing in spring training before I got here. I was looking for that swing and that bat speed. I’ve got it,” said Sandoval . . . Josh Rutledge, in competition for a utility infield job, made a nice diving stop on a grounder to his right while playing first base. Rutledge said he last played first in 1996. “Little League,” he said. “Definitely coach-pitch.”


Alex Speier of the Globe staff contributed from Port Charlotte, Fla. Nick Cafardo can be reached at cafardo @globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @nickcafardo.