Rain gives Fenway fans a treat: Price will start home opener

BOSTON (AP) Boston Red Sox fans will get an extra treat when they show up to the home opener at Fenway Park.

No, not a World Series ring ceremony like the ballclub has held three times since 2005. Last year's team finished last, which the franchise is doing everything it can to forget.

But because of a couple of rainouts during the season-opening series in Cleveland, the Red Sox will send prime free-agent acquisition David Price to the mound on Monday for Boston's first home game of the 2015 season.

''I know opening day in Fenway is like a holiday,'' Price said this weekend as the team finished its opening road trip. ''So for me to be able to get that game, I'm definitely very excited to have it.''

The Red Sox finished their third last-place finish in four years by making a big splash in the free agent market, signing Price to a seven-year, $217 million contract to become the team's ace. He got the opening day start in Cleveland, of course, but that put him in line to pitch again on Saturday in Toronto.

After rainouts pushed the opener back a day and then postponed the scheduled series finale on Thursday, the team decided to push Price back to Monday rather than skip Steven Wright in the rotation.

''It will be a treat for our fans to see David pitch on opening day in Boston,'' manager John Farrell said.

That won't be the only excitement at Fenway Park on Monday.

With David Ortiz set to retire after the season, the Red Sox are planning a season-long tribute to the three-time World Series champion - the only remaining member of the drought-busting 2004 championship team. Ortiz's teammates said they would like to send him out as a winner, and Farrell said he doesn't want the farewell tour to become a distraction.

''David always draws the cameras or draws the attention or the spotlight wherever he goes. We've been accustomed to that for quite some time,'' the manager said. ''Hopefully, we're going to get a year full of that excitement as he closes things out.''

The game will also be Farrell's first at Fenway since August, when he was diagnosed with cancer. He took the last six weeks off for treatment but was declared cancer-free by doctors over the winter.

''The last time I spoke to you guys upstairs last year was not a fun message,'' he told reporters. ''I think the best thing is that the conversations I have with you guys, it's about what's going on between the lines. I haven't forgotten what I've gone through but to have the focus on our players and on the game, that's rewarding.''

---

AP freelancer Ian Harrison in Toronto contributed to this report.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide—from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Andy Staples, Grant Wahl, and more—delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.