Price is working to get on another late season roll
Bryan Price is already a household name within baseball circles.
Well, the name Bryan Price at least.
When fans hear the name their thoughts would probably jump to the current manager of the Cincinnati Reds. But two hours to the northeast there’s another Bryan Price, one who is climbing the minor league ladder in search of the big time.
Columbus Clippers reliever Bryan Price seems to be on the cusp of making that final step. On Thursday, he was in a relaxed and reflective mood as he stood in his home dugout before the team’s first game after the All-Star break.
It’s surprising for a player whose season has been anything but straight forward. Price began the season on the treatment table thanks to a right shoulder injury. He didn’t make his first appearance until June 1st, pitching ten innings for Double-A Akron before moving up to Columbus late last month.
Now, with eight appearances in Triple-A, Price said the injury isn’t having too much of an effect.
“It’s feeling good. It’s coming back,” Price said. “I’m felling good about the way I’ve thrown the ball so far and hoping to continue to build off it.”
Price said his rehab was mostly focused on building up the requisite power to get back on the mound.
“It’s just (about) getting the shoulder strength back," Price noted. "I strained my rotator cuff, so it’s getting that back and trusting it. Trusting what you do, letting the ball go, that kind of stuff.”
Since returning to Triple-A, Price has posted a 4.35 ERA over 10.1 innings. While those numbers aren’t awful, Price is far from pleased with them.
“Prior to the break I felt like I haven’t pitched great, I understand that. But, at the same time, I know the type of pitcher I am," Price said. “I typically string together a bunch of good innings, and that’s normally how I do it. So I’m just ready for that streak to begin and just to run with it.”
Last season Price had one of those streaks he was mentioning, but it started immediately after one embarrassing outing. Against the Indianapolis Indians on June 2nd, Price allowed four runs (all earned) on three hits in his one inning of work.
But it was as if he needed to get that performance out of his system, because for the rest of the season he could almost do no wrong. Over his final 50 innings he posted just a 1.08 ERA, cementing his place as one of the Indians top bullpen prospects.
The Granbury, Texas, native doesn’t chalk down his form toward the end of last season to any specific incident.
“I felt like I just got off to a bad start here last season," Price said. "I went down and pitched pretty well in Double-A and felt like I really built on some stuff there. When I came back I felt like it was just a few bad outings strung together and sooner or later it all turned around.”
Price had a similar outing when he returned to Columbus this season. Back on July 8th the Pawtucket Red Sox tagged him for three runs in an inning and two-thirds, which also gave him his first loss of the season.
Since then he’s pitched only five innings, but he believes – especially after his injury – that he has to trust his mechanics if he’s going to get back to the level where he feel he belongs.
“My injury, I wouldn’t say, was set off by mechanics," Price said. "I had a prior injury in spring training. It was just a little rough. I injured my hamstring, and I think that’s what led up to my shoulder injury. I think getting back to my mechanics, that’s what helped me pitch so well last year and that is what I’m hoping to build with.”
As Price strives to return to his standard of pitching from the end of last season, he said that getting there is really about focusing and improving every day.
“The goal is always to help the big league team win; hopefully that happens someday," Price stated. "But as far as day-to-day goals, (there are) none. I would say they change so often as far as the day-to-day what you’re working on. But for me, just go out there, feel good and have some success.”
With more success like the kind he experienced last season, he might wind up adding another Bryan Price to the national baseball conscience.
Just another guy who plays well when healthy but is rarely healthy, like LeVon Washington.
If he was a draft pick and not a guy we got in the Victor Martinez trade there wouldn't be as much interest.
I'm not saying he'll never make the bigs, but there are a lot of good right-handed relievers in the system and on the big club that are ahead of him right now, and with all the injuries it seems like he just can't get traction for very long. But he is moving up - slowly. It's two steps up and one step back, but at least he made it to AAA and at 27 he's got plenty of time if he can stay healthy.