BRADENTON, Fla. -- The Red Sox have had a few weeks to relish the fact that David Price is now with them instead of against them. But it will take a higher form of reality on Thursday afternoon, when the lefty ace pitches at home against the Twins in his first Grapefruit League game for his new team.
"Well, we're all looking forward to it," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "You look forward to a guy that you've seen so many years that has been controlled, composed and able to command with well-above average stuff. We've had a chance to see him go about his work and how professional the approach is. We're looking forward to seeing that during the game [on Thursday]."
The anticipation has been building to watch Price perform in a Red Sox uniform since he signed a seven-year, $217 million contract on Dec. 4.
Price's main mission is to make sure his teammates know they'll always be able to count on him.
"Make every start, be available every fifth day," Price said recently. "I don't have personal goals. I guess if I have one, it's to throw 200 innings. If you're doing that you're making 33-34 starts. If you make 33 starts and you go six innings every start, you're just under 200. That 200-inning plateau is something I want to get to every year. That means you're available and consistent."
Price's commitment to his team has already been evident in these early stages.
"He's a great teammate," said Red Sox right-hander Joe Kelly. "Funny guy. He says the right thing. He leads by example. He doesn't have to open his mouth too much and people follow and listen. I've had a chance to spend a little bit of time with him. He's everything you hear outside of being his teammate. He's made an instant impact on guys. He's got that presence and that demeanor of the way he handles his business even without saying anything."
Kelly will be watching closely from the top step of the dugout when Thursday's game starts.
"It's going to be really fun to watch him throw," Kelly said. "I've seen some live BPs and bullpens. When you watched him from the other side, nobody liked watching him pitch because he was so dang good. It's Spring Training but it's also fun to see him get back out there."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.