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Dodgers David Price in relief role ready for retirement – Orange County Register

DENVER – Andrew Heaney made two starts in April before going on the injured list for two months with a shoulder problem.

Tyler Anderson stepped into the rotation. David Price’s name never really came up.

Clayton Kershaw went to IL for a month with the latest update on his back issues.

Again, Price was not mentioned as an option to help absorb Kershaw’s absence in the starting rotation.

Earlier this month, it happened again. Walker Buehler was subtracted from the Dodgers’ starting rotation when he suffered a flexor tendon injury and underwent surgery to remove a bone spur from his elbow. The combination could keep him sidelined until at least September.

Again, Price was not seen as an option to fill the vacancy for a starting pitcher.

And now that Heaney is in IL for the second time, Mitch White has stepped into the starting rotation.

This is certainly the case for the former Cy Young Award winner, five-time All-Star and two-time ERA champion who reached the end of his career as a starting pitcher with 322 career starts and 155 victories.

“Maybe,” Price, 36, said with an emphatic smile. “I hope so.”

If the Dodgers no longer view him as a viable option as a starting pitcher, Price said he’s OK with that. If they decide to start over, he’s okay with that too.

“We got enough from seven starters,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said, including White. “So to think you’re going to build David – so unrealistic.”

Price said he understands why the Dodgers give starts to young pitchers like White but is a fan of watching young pitchers like White get their opportunities.

“I like these guys getting their starts,” said Price, who has a 3.38 ERA in 18 relief appearances, mostly in low-leverage situations. “I like them to be able to get their number so they can go to arbitration and they can get their money. I got mine.

“I love to see these young guys go out there and try to establish themselves. I love watching Mitch White pitch. He’s got good stuff. That’s what he needs. He needs to be pitching in the big leagues, not in Triple-A. That’s a waste of time. He’s in the big leagues. Must be in pitching.

Price is still getting his money from the seven-year, $217 million deal he signed with the Boston Red Sox before the 2016 season — $32 million this year ($16 million from the Red Sox, $16 million from the Dodgers). This is the final year of that contract — and Price’s last year before retirement.

“Yes,” Price said when asked if he plans to retire after the 2022 season. But then he defends it a bit.

“I mean, yes and no. My (two) kids love it so much. That’s the only thing that makes me think about playing anymore.

“I always ask my son, ‘Does Daddy want to play baseball or does Daddy want to stay home all the time?’ I asked him earlier this year and he said, ‘I want you to be home’. I said, ‘Are you sure?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ Now when I ask him, he says, ‘No, I want you to play.’

The first overall pick in the 2007 draft, an AL Cy Young Award winner in 2012 and a World Series champion with the Red Sox in 2018, Price said he can walk away satisfied that he accomplished everything he wanted to in the game. Almost all.

“Absolutely — except for winning the Silver Slugger,” the career .123 hitter said again with a hearty laugh.

Bets bats

Mookie Betts has started swinging the bat as he recovers from a cracked rib in his right side. But throwing is more of a problem.

“The swing of the bat doesn’t hurt as much as the throw,” Roberts said.

For that reason, Roberts said he’s “pretty sure” Betts will be back “through DH” before he’s ready to take the field. At this point, Roberts said, that will happen before the All-Star break in just two weeks.

“Yeah, I’m very optimistic about that,” Roberts said.

Freeman’s play

In the latest twist surrounding Freddie Freeman’s free-agent move from Atlanta to Los Angeles, basketball analyst and sports talk radio host Doug Gottlieb took to Twitter Wednesday to report that the first baseman’s agent (Excel Sports Management’s Casey Close) had not informed Freeman of the Braves. A final contract proposal. According to Gottlieb, Freeman learned this weekend that he had decided to fire his agent.

Kloss responded later in the day, denying that report.

“Doug Gottlieb tweeted a complete mischaracterization of our negotiations with the Atlanta Braves on behalf of Freddie Freeman,” Klose posted on Excel’s Twitter account. “We are immediately evaluating all legal options to address the inadvertent publication of false information.”

Freeman declined to discuss the report. On Tuesday, he stopped short of confirming that he had fired his agent, saying only that it was a “fluid situation” and that he was “working through some issues” with his representatives.


Padres (RHP Joe Musgrove, 8-1, 2.12 ERA) at Dodgers (RHP Mitch White, 1-1, 4.25 ERA), Thursday, 7:10 p.m., SportsNet LA, FS1, 570 AM

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