Which pitchers are left for Sox?

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Which pitchers are left for Sox?

Last week, the Red Sox kicked off the Winter Meetings with two big signings Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino before going silent for the rest of their time in Nashville, and remaining silent for the nearly seven days since.

Now, normally this wouldn't be a problem. After all, at this stage in the offseason, the Sox picture is typically a little more clear, with their line-up and rotation essentially set in stone. However, this year is not normal. Or maybe, this is the new normal. Either way, here on December 10, the Sox still have a lot of work to do if they have any aspirations of end their three year playoff drought. And as usual, as was the case in September 2011 and for most of 2012, the major issue is starting pitching.

It was their biggest problem heading into the offseason, and it's the one problem they've yet to address. As it stands now, their rotation of Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Felix Doubront, John Lackey and Franklin Morales doesn't stand up to the competition, and there's no depth behind them. Nothing there to help cope with the assortment bumps, bruises and missed starts that every staff faces over the course of 162 games.

And guess what? Thanks to the Sox lack of involvement in the arms race (combined with a weak class, in general), there's not much talent left. In fact, unless they revisit or ultimately pull the trigger on a Jacoby Ellsbury trade, the Sox will have a hard time improving their rotation at all.

So, who's still out there?

There's 34-year-old Kyle Lohse and 28-year-old Anibal Sanchez, both of whom are asking for much more than the Sox will or should give them. There's 29-year-old Edwin Jackson who's been serviceable but far from consistent over the past few seasons, a major factor in him playing for six teams in the last five years. There's 35-year-old Ryan Dempster, who still seems better suited for the NL. There's 30-year-old Shawn Marcum, who I like but who also might be asking too much. After that, I don't know? Do the Sox and Rich Harden finally come together after years of close calls and rumors? Do they bring Bronson Arroyo back for a one-year deal? Do they roll the dice on Francisco Liriano?

At the end of the day, they might have to roll the dice on a few guys and just hold their breathe that one or two of them works out. Sort of the same thing they did with position players back in 2003.

Is that ideal? Of course not. But when it comes to the current state of the Sox, "ideal" no longer exists.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Price turns in encouraging effort in first 2017 start

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Price turns in encouraging effort in first 2017 start

CHICAGO — It’s a start, literally and figuratively.

David Price showed some great velocity in his 2017 Red Sox debut Monday afternoon, hitting 97 mph -- heat he didn’t have last year. At times, the pitcher the Sox badly need to return to form flashed high-level effectiveness as well.

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What everyone expected would be off in Price's first start back, his command, was indeed shaky, considering he allowed more runs (three) than hits (two). But he wasn’t expected to be in tip-top form, and he did a decent job overall.

Price's five-inning, three-run performance against the White Sox came almost exactly three months after he first felt elbow soreness during spring training. The lefty exited with the Red Sox ahead 4-3, though he lost the chance at his first 2017 victory when Chicago scored in the seventh.

All three runs off Price scored on a Melky Cabrera homer in the third inning, which put the White Sox ahead 3-1 at the time. Price walked only two batters on the day, but they happened to be the two hitters in front of Cabrera.

The walk started with the No. 9 hitter, Adam Engel. Tim Anderson, who had drawn just four walks in 181 plate appearances entering the day, got a free pass as well.

But besides the Cabrera homer on a first-pitch fastball that was middle-in, the only other hit Price allowed was a shallow bloop single to center field.

Price finished with four strikeouts, including the first batter he faced on the day, Anderson.

His command issues were nonetheless clear. Price hit two batters to begin his final frame, setting up a fine play for Deven Marrero to record a force out at second before Xander Bogaerts started a inning-ending double play with a fantastic dive, bailing Price out of the first-and-third jam with one out.

With 88 pitches and 58 strikes, Price was more efficient than he was in two rehab outings at Triple-A Pawtucket, and he didn’t get rocked. But he also wasn’t as efficient as the Red Sox will need him to be.

Price was pitching in a calm, pleasant environment (clear skies, temperatures in the 70s, low humidity) that might actually have been more comfortable than the colder clime Price faced in Pawtucket -- where both the fans and temperatures were chilly.

The Red Sox were aggressive bringing Price back so quickly, and set themselves up for a second guess if something went wrong. But Price preserved the second of two leads his offense gave him and didn’t let the game get out of hand. After the Cabrera homer put the White Sox up two, the Red Sox answered immediately in the top of the fourth to tie at 3-3.

The argument that Price did better than anyone else would have in his place is a fair one, considering John Farrell and Co. slated Price to pitch Monday before they watched Brian Johnson’s complete-game shutout.

The bigger question was always about what was best for Price’s future, and Monday looks like something he can build on. He may have benefited from the adrenaline of being back in the majors.

Pedroia lifted in second inning after hurting wrist in collision

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Pedroia lifted in second inning after hurting wrist in collision

CHICAGO -- Injury scares are finding Dustin Pedroia in all the wrong places.

The Red Sox second baseman was pulled in the second inning Monday afternoon against the White Sox because of a left wrist sprain, an injury he seemed to suffer on a collision running to first base in the top of the first inning.

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He and White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu converged on the bag at the same time on a grounder to Abreu, and Pedroia tumbled over Abreu

Pedroia had season-ending surgery on the wrist in September 2014, addressing a tendon issue. Pedroia had surgery on his left knee this year, and missed time after Manny Machado's slide caught him in that leg in April.

Pedroia during the last homestand was pulled as a precaution because of concern for that leg.

Josh Rutledge took over for Pedroia at second base.