David Price knocked around in second straight rehab appearance

David Price hasn’t pitched well in his two rehab starts. (AP Photo)

Is it time to start worrying about Boston Red Sox pitcher David Price? The 31-year-old is attempting to come back from an elbow injury, but hasn’t pitched like himself as of late. After struggling in his first rehab start, things got even worse for Price the second time around.

Price was knocked around in his second rehab start in Triple-A. The left-hander allowed six runs, three earned, on seven hits over 3 2/3 innings. He walked one and struck out four.

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Price’s issues started almost immediately. On the second pitch of the game, he gave up a ground-rule double to the leadoff hitter. After a bunt resulted in an out, Price allowed a single and a walk to load the bases.

With the bases loaded, Price threw a wild pitch, allowing the first run to score. Another run came in on an error by first baseman Matt Dominguez. Price was able to induce a fly out for the second out of the inning, but then gave up a two-run double. By the end of the first, he was already down 4-0.

The second inning didn’t go much better. Price gave up a leadoff single to kick things off. After picking up a strikeout, he allowed a stolen base, a run-scoring single, another stolen base and then another run scoring single. Two more runs scored during the inning.

He labored through both innings, throwing a total of 56 pitches before the third.

Things went a bit smoother the rest of the way. Price pitched around a single and another stolen base during a scoreless third inning. He managed to get two outs in the fourth before he was pulled due to reaching his pitch count. Price threw 89 pitches during the start.

Price declined to speak with the media following the performance.

While he seemed to settle in as the game progressed, Price hasn’t exactly put together encouraging numbers during his two rehab starts. His first time out, Price allowed three runs on five hits over two innings. He’s allowed a total of nine runs, six earned, in 5 2/3 innings over both starts.

If there’s any reason for optimism, it’s that Price’s velocity appears to be normal, and he’s striking out batters at a good clip. Price hit 95-96 mph with his fastball during Wednesday’s start. He has a solid 8:2 strikeout to walk rate in his two appearances.

Still, the overall numbers are concerning, particularly for a player coming off an elbow injury. Price has maintained that he’s felt great during the rehab process, but the results haven’t been there yet.

With stamina no longer an issue, the only thing standing between Price and a return to the Red Sox’s rotation is his performance. After Wednesday’s struggles, the team could hold him back for at least one more rehab start just to see if he can get things back on track.

That could put both sides in an awkward situation. Price insists he’s healthy, but the Red Sox need to see him perform before they put him back in the rotation. Based on his reaction to Wednesday’s start, Price is already frustrated with his performance. If he struggles the next time out, things could get ugly.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!