CHICAGO — On the day one of their best pitchers proved his elbow is finally healthy again, the Boston Red Sox might have lost their heart.
David Price tossed five innings Monday in his season debut three months after straining his left elbow in spring training. But one inning into the Red Sox’s 5-4 loss to the Chicago White Sox, second baseman Dustin Pedroia exited with a sprained left wrist that threatens to keep him sidelined for a while.
X-rays on Pedroia’s wrist were negative, according to Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski. But Pedroia returned to Boston to undergo an MRI exam and other testing Tuesday morning.
“We could have gotten an MRI here and had people read it, but he just knows the [doctors] there so well,” Dombrowski said. “He wanted to do that, so we said, ‘Sure, we’ll fly you there and get the MRI done there.'”
Pedroia has dealt with multiple wrist and hand injuries over the past few years. He even underwent surgery on his left wrist in September 2014, when he had a first dorsal compartment release and a tenosynovectomy, a procedure to remove an inflamed part of the tendon. He finished that season with a .712 OPS, the lowest of his career.
“I think any time you’re dealing with a position player’s wrist, a hitter’s wrist, that’s always cause for concern,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said.
Pedroia was injured on a strange play in the top of the first inning. White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu dove into first base to tag out Pedroia, who tumbled over Abreu and landed on his wrist. Pedroia stayed in the game in the bottom of the first inning before being replaced by Josh Rutledge.
Last week, Pedroia missed parts of two games as a precaution for his surgically repaired left knee, which had been aggravated in April when Baltimore Orioles star Manny Machado slid into him at second base.
“He’s played almost every day,” Dombrowski said. “He’s had to deal with a lot of things, which is very unfortunate, but he battles through it.”
Pedroia is batting .292 with a .369 on-base percentage in 171 at-bats. But he has only nine doubles, two homers and a .380 slugging percentage, which would be his lowest since 2014.
Price, meanwhile, made a largely successful return to the mound other than a few bouts of erratic control (back-to-back walks in the third inning and back-to-back hit batters in the fifth). He allowed a three-run homer to Melky Cabrera in the third inning but left with the Red Sox leading 4-3.
Price exhibited good arm strength, topping out at 97 mph on a pitch to Yolmer Sanchez in the second inning. Price was consistently in the mid-90s and got 11 swings and misses.
“It’s definitely a step in the right direction,” said Price, who threw 88 pitches (58 strikes) in five innings. “I felt good. Just command the baseball a little bit better with my fastball, and I think things will take off for me.”