David Price expects to have his regular stuff upon return

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BOSTON - David Price threw his third bullpen Saturday as he comes back from an elbow injury. The lefty said afterward that he believes he will be David Price — that his stuff will be what it should be — upon his return.

No timetable has been set. But, considering how many steps remain, he likely is still at least a month away, pressing closer to the end of May or early June. Price said he hasn’t suffered any setbacks.

“I expect to be myself,” Price said. “I don’t see any drop-off or anything like that. We’ve put in the work and I expect to be myself whenever I come back.”

Price’s side session Saturday included simulated inning breaks. As long as Price is feeling good Sunday and beyond, the Red Sox hope his next step includes facing hitters.

“Ideally it would be,” John Farrell said. “We’ll sit with David and kid of map out what we feel is best.”

Price has notably yet to throw his breaking ball from the mound, which Sox manager John Farrell said was a possibility before both Price’s Wednesday bullpen session and his Saturday session. He has thrown the breaking ball on flat ground.

“Didn’t want to push it too much, with it being the first time I’m throwing pitches and then taking a break and getting back up and throwing more,” Price said. “That’s always probably the toughest part of spring training... It’s not the amount of pitches you throw. It’s throwing pitches and then taking that break and then getting back up and doing it again. That’s always one of the tougher parts in spring training, that’s kind of what I’m going through right now.”
 
Farrell said Price does not necessarily have to use his breaking ball before facing hitters.

“Pitchers are going to be individual when it comes time to bringing the breaking ball into play,” Farrell said. “It's not uncommon, if you think about pitchers in spring training, guys will go two or three starts without throwing a breaking ball. I'm of the belief that as long as you're building arm strength, your breaking ball is going to be there. Arm strength is the priority at these early stages, as is the tolerance to the volume. At the appropriate time, the breaking ball will be brought into it.

“The one thing that we’re trying to do is not throw a number of variables in at the same time, so there’s a progression. You go from the long toss to the flat ground to spinning a breaking ball. Then incorporate the angle of the mound. Incorporate some ups and downs, and then also at that point, start to add in a full assortment of pitches. So there’s a little bit more of a systematic approach toward the addition of each variable going forward.”
 
Price said he’s been counting down the days until his son arrives to avoid going stir crazy. The due date for his wife Tiffany is in about two weeks.

Bradley, Rutledge nearing minor league assignments: Jackie Bradley Jr. and Josh Rutledge could begin rehab assignments on Tuesday with Triple-A Pawtucket if base running goes well for them on Monday.

Tyler Thornburg is building up his throwing distance from flat ground.
 

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