The Red Sox’ plan when it comes to David Price’s eventual return to the rotation is not wait-and-see.
It’s more like see, and then hopefully not have to wait much longer.
Price, who has been on the injured list because of a cyst on his left (pitching) wrist since Aug. 8, is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Thursday.
“Then we’ll decide where to go after that,’’ said manager Alex Cora. “Let’s wait for him [Thursday], for him to throw it, and we’ll talk about it after the game.’’
In May, Price missed nearly three weeks because of tendinitis in his pitching elbow. Sidelined on May 2, he returned on May 20 against the Blue Jays, throwing 67 pitches in five innings in a 12-2 Red Sox win. He did not require a rehab appearance before his return.
Cora said he wasn’t sure at this point whether a minor-league rehabilitation assignment was in the cards for Price.
“We don’t know yet,’’ Cora said. “When he went to Toronto, he didn’t need one and he was fine.’’
Price threw a bullpen session Tuesday and came away encouraged, Cora said.
“It went well,’’ said Cora. “Very aggressive. Location was better. [He] threw the cutter, too. So that’s why we have one more [Thursday] and then we’ll decide what we do.’’
The Red Sox are officially in desperation mode, having entered Wednesday 6½ games behind the Rays for the second American League wild-card spot with 35 games remaining. They trailed the A’s by 6 games.
With Chris Sale sidelined at least four to six weeks because of inflammation in his left elbow, the Red Sox almost certainly would require a strong finish from Price to have any chance at a postseason berth.
Price is 7-5 with a 4.36 ERA in 21 starts this season. He has pitched just 105⅓ innings — fourth on the team – while allowing 108 hits and 31 walks with 126 strikeouts.
Cora, asked about Yankees manager Aaron Boone’s recent comments that Major League Baseball should consider implementing a mercy rule — meaning a team is declared the winner if it leads by a certain margin at a certain point in the game — instead kicked around a couple of other possible solutions to the relative epidemic of position players pitching in blowouts.
The ideas may not have been practical, but they were interesting.
“We have some other ways to avoid that [the mercy rule],’’ Cora said. “We were talking about, between players and coaches, and when they bring the position player, it puts the team that is up in a bad spot.
“Somebody said if you bring in a position player, let’s say on Tuesday, the next day, you have to bring a position player for three hitters. If you wave the white flag on Tuesday, then a position player has to face three hitters the next day.’’
Cora wasn’t done with his results of the brainstorm.
“And the other [idea] is if you bring a position player in the eighth, like he goes two innings against your offense — and this is not going to happen, well the other one either — the team that brings the position player, your offense doesn’t get to swing the bat. The only way you can beat the opposition is walking. Because you waved the white flag [by bringing in a position player to pitch].’’
A reporter mentioned that the players’ union might not be copacetic with those ideas.
“Yeah, but — yeah. I can’t,’’ said Cora, resisting further elaboration. “I’m not going to get into it like my ESPN broadcasting days.’’
Wednesday was the second and final day of the 18th annual WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio Telethon in support of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
One of the highlights of the telethon was a conversation among the four coaches of Boston’s main professional sports franchises on WEEI’s afternoon “OMF’’ program.
Cora, the Celtics’ Brad Stevens, Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy, and Bill Belichick (calling in from Patriots headquarters in Foxborough) talked about what they gain from talking to each other and what makes the respective franchises successful.
Cora said he appreciates the bond the coaches have built with each other over the years.
“Brad, he’s been to spring training twice. He’s been very positive about our situation. Bruce, he asked me for advice about hockey before the Stanley Cup. We don’t play hockey back home [in Puerto Rico], I told him. Bill, obviously, there’s not much to say there. His career has been amazing. What they do on a yearly basis is very impressive. And he keeps going.
“To be able to talk to them and listen to them, their takes about other stuff — the market, the media, the day-in and day-out of our jobs — it was a good experience.’’
On the road again
Eduardo Rodriguez (14-5, 4.10 ERA) will start Friday as planned in the first game of the Red Sox’ series against the Padres in San Diego. And Cora confirmed that Nate Eovaldi (1-0, 6.69 ERA) will get the start Saturday night . . . From the Too Little, Too Late Dept.: Since July 24, the Red Sox bullpen owns the lowest ERA (2.77) and opponent average (.202).
Groome returns to action
Jay Groome, the Red Sox’ first-round pick in 2016 who underwent Tommy John surgery in May 2018, returned to game action Wednesday, pitching a scoreless inning with two strikeouts for the Gulf Coast League Red Sox. The lefthander, who had not pitched in a live game since August 2017, touched 95 miles per hour on his fastball.