Although the Los Angeles Dodgers went into the regular season with an excess of starting pitchers that led to Tony Gonsolin, Jimmy Nelson and David Price being placed in the bullpen, that depth has effectively been washed away.
Gonsolin was put on the 10-day injured list due to right shoulder inflammation days into the season and has yet to pitch, Dustin May was lost for the year due to requiring Tommy John surgery, and Nelson is currently sidelined by right forearm inflammation.
The Dodgers have relied on four bullpen games since May’s injury at the beginning of the month, with Price twice serving as an opener. Although the left-hander is a starter by trade and the Dodgers have faced a need in the rotation, stretching Price out hasn’t garnered much consideration.
“I think right now we just love where he’s at. Taking down one inning, one-plus, having him be more relevant in more games,” manager Dave Roberts explained. “In this situation right now, we just need a little bit more.
“The hope is to have Tony come back, slot in that starter role and then get David more relevant and more games each week.”
Price was sharp in his second start of the season, retiring all eight San Francisco Giants batters faced and needing just 35 pitches to do so. He remains comfortable working as a starter, but reiterated an openness to filling any role the team asks.
“It doesn’t matter to me. I definitely enjoy starting, but I’ve definitely enjoyed being out in the bullpen as well,” Price said. “It’s a new challenge. Starting is something that’s a little bit more natural to me, but I enjoy being out in the bullpen.
“Having a chance to pitch on back-to-back days, go three out of four, pitch in big situations late in the game, that’s a lot of fun. But whatever they want me to do, I’m all for it. Just continue to take the ball whenever my number is called.”
Price celebrates 2,000 career strikeouts
During his impressive showing against the Giants, Price reached 2,000 career strikeouts.
“That was very special for a couple reasons. First, it was against one of my really good friends in Curt Casali,” he said. “He swings the bat extremely well against me, hits the ball really hard, has hit a couple homers, Vanderbilt guy. So that felt good.
“And secondly, it’s my wife’s birthday, so that was special to be able to pitch on her birthday and reach a personal milestone. … I think that’s my first milestone strikeout ball that I got. I didn’t get my 1,500th or my 1,00th.
“I thought they were just getting the ball to give to the people to send to the labs for MLB. I didn’t know what was going on, and then Doc told me when he came out to make the pitching change. So that was cool. That was a cool moment.”
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