Another day, another pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers made his spring training debut.
Monday marked a first for two such players, as one of the newest Dodgers, David Price, made his Dodger and Cactus League debut, and Julio Urias made his first appearance of spring training.
Price took the mound against the Cincinnati Reds in Goodyear, AZ for the first time since September of last year when he was with the Boston Red Sox.
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"It's the first time I've been in a game for six almost seven months," said Price. "My legs were shaking out there."
The lanky left-hander showed signs of rust early, and got off to a little bit of a rough start in his Dodgers debut. Price was scheduled to throw two innings, but did not make it out of the second, after allowing two runs on three hits with two walks and three strikeouts in one and 1/3 innings. He threw a total of 40 pitches.
"It's been a while since I faced hitters wearing a different jersey," said Price after the start. "I felt good. For where I'm at right now in spring training: after two live BPs, and now my first outing, it's very positive for myself."
Price underwent surgery to have a cyst removed from his left wrist at the end of the last season, and has said he's been able to regain the feeling in his left hand again.
"It's new for my hand to be warm," said Price. "Especially right now after I'm done throwing. I'm not used to having a warm hand. I like pitching like this a lot more."
Price pitched exclusively out of the stretch on Monday, after recently deciding to ditch the windup. The Tennessee native said he made the decision after struggling during his second live batting practice session last week. He noted that he's made the move to pitch from the stretch at various points in his career previously.
"It's something I've done before in my career," said Price. "Whether it be for a month or two or almost a full year while I was in Boston. I definitely felt better out of the stretch as opposed to the windup. My windup is kind of like my stretch position anyways. I can disrupt timing better. I'm going to make my biggest pitches in the game out of the stretch as well. For me it allows me to have more weapons."
Price has spent spring training in Arizona for the first time in his career, after spending the last 17 years of his career in Florida. Price was acquired by the Dodgers Feb. 10 from the Boston Red Sox as part of the deal that sent 2018 MVP Mookie Betts to Los Angeles, and Alex Verdugo, Jeter Downs, and Connor Wong to Boston.
"I think a change of scenery can be good," said Price of the trade. "We had a very good team over there [in Boston] we won a lot of games…but I think a change of scenery will do me well."
Price said thus far he's enjoyed getting to know his new teammates and said he can feel the motivation from within the clubhouse for the Dodgers to finally get over the proverbial hump, and win their first World Series since 1988.
"There's a lot of drive in our clubhouse. Everyone wants to reach that pinnacle, and I want to be a part of that, I want to be a big part of that," said Price. "I want to help these guys get to that point just so they can experience the feeling and emotions that I was fortunate to feel in 2018. Everybody in here has one common goal and that's what you need to have."
Price enjoyed the experience and the emotions that went with winning a championship in 2018, but one thing he said he won't miss about Boston is the media.
Price famously had a contentious relationship with the Boston-based media and has had his fair share of run-ins with broadcasters and media members during his four years in Beantown.
Now that he's in the Dodgers organization, Price has been pleasantly surprised with the laidback nature of the Los Angeles media.
"It's definitely more laid back," Price said. However, when he was jokingly told we were offended by that, he quipped, "I'm not complaining, trust me."
Price is expected to throw three innings in his next spring training start later this week, and hopes that he can throw more strikes and issue less walks.
"I'd like to throw more strikes and not walk guys," he said. "I command the zone pretty well with all of my pitches and that's something I need to get back to doing."
Urias also struggled in his first appearance of spring. The 23-year-old left-hander started the third inning on Monday, but was unable to get out of it. Urias allowed two runs on one hit with one walk, one strikeout, and one error issued to third baseman Justin Turner.
After he left the mound, Urias headed back to the bullpen where he threw 14 more pitches.
"It was good to see him go back out there for the second inning in the pen and build up his pitch count," said Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts. "Julio is fine. We still have to keep building him up. Getting into a more normal routine, he's only going to get better."
Urias himself said he felt better than he has all spring, but admitted he struggled with his command in his first taste of game action in 2020.
"I had a little bit of command issues," Urias said. "The fastball was kind of running a little bit. There was some other balls I thought might have been strikes, but the umpire didn't agree with me. It just wasn't my day."
Urias is also expected to take the mound again later this week, and is tentatively penciled in as the Dodgers fourth starter in the rotation.