FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) While there is still no timetable for David Price's return to game activity, the Boston Red Sox got a small amount of good news on the left-hander's ailing elbow.
''There was a series of strength tests done this morning in the training room and (we) felt like he was improved to the point of initiating more throwing,'' manager John Farrell said.
That progress allowed Price to take part in a brief game of catch Saturday.
''Not off a mound but just to get the arm moving with a ball in flight and will continue in this phase for a period of time,'' Farrell said. ''There's no set distance and volume yet to the throws.''
Price, who is entering the second year of a seven-year, $217 million contract, felt discomfort in his elbow the day after pitching two innings of a simulated game Feb. 28. He left camp March 3 to meet with Dr. James Andrews and Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who recommended rest and anti-inflammatory medication rather than surgery or an injection.
Price was optimistic after his game of catch.
''Felt good,'' he said. ''Felt normal. No restrictions. So it was a good day.''
Price is not expected to pitch in a game before May. He wants to be sure he is fully healed before he returns.
''I've been through this before,'' he said. ''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 leads the majors with 529 1/3 innings pitched from 2010-2016, surpassing 200 innings in six of those seven seasons. Since 2014, he leads the majors with 101 starts.
''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,'' Price said. ''That's what I aspire to do. It's just a little hiccup right here, and I'll get through it.''
Price went 17-9 with a 3.99 ERA last season, and led the majors with 35 starts and 230 innings. If there is a silver lining to Price's injury, perhaps it is that he will be fresh late in the season and into the postseason, if the Red Sox advance. Price's postseason struggles are well documented. He is 2-8 with a 5.54 ERA in 15 appearances, including nine starts.
''I feel like once you get to September, August, you're going to feel the same all the time,'' Price said. ''I've never felt bad in September, August or October. I've always felt strong. I work hard, I take care of myself. I don't know. Hopefully it works out all right.''
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