Following sim game, Price to start Sunday

Red Sox left-hander focused on this year, not last season

Following sim game, Price to start Sunday

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- David Price is so over last year that he isn't talking about it. Instead, all his focus is on a stronger second season with the Red Sox and taking all the necessary steps that will help him get there.

On Tuesday, that process included a 38-pitch simulated game in preparation for his Grapefruit League debut on Sunday against the Braves.

How are the mechanics compared to last year?

"I don't look at last year," Price said icily. "I'm focused on 2017."

What kind of delivery is Price looking for this year?

"Like it did in 2012 when I won the Cy Young [Award]," Price said.

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The disdain Price expresses toward 2016 says something about his competitive fire. It was a season a lot of people would take, as the left-hander won 17 games, led the American League with 230 innings and was seventh in the Majors with 228 strikeouts. But the 3.99 ERA was unacceptable to Price.

Price feels good about where he's at so far in camp, but he looks forward to seeing how it plays out on Sunday against Atlanta.

"Yeah, it's always fun to get back out there in a real game and face guys with different jerseys on," Price said. "That's the next thing on the plate, so I look forward to it."

Red Sox manager John Farrell is enthused by what he's seen so far from Price.

"He just looks more free and easy with his delivery, his ability to spin a curveball is more at his disposal now than it was this time last year when he first started in camp with us," Farrell said. "I think the fact that he's in year two and the newness of Boston is not there anymore, it doesn't put him in a position to take anything for granted, but just the more known commodity is helpful in this case."

Worth noting

Hanley Ramirez started at designated hitter for the second straight day, but he still hasn't been cleared to play first base as he works through right shoulder soreness. Farrell said the next couple of days will be key in determining if Ramirez is healthy enough to play for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic.

"Well again, he's getting treatment every day," said Farrell. "As of today, I can't sit here and say he's not going. Once a player agrees to go, we can't stand in the middle of that and keep them from going. Health is the one thing that starts to get in the middle of it and then it's more of a discussion and more than just one person making that decision."

• Red Sox lefty Eduardo Rodriguez, who makes his Grapefruit League debut on Thursday against the Rays, squatted down behind Price and watched the entirety of his simulated game.

"I just want to look and see how he executes his pitches," Rodriguez said. "How he throws his changeup, his four seam and two seam, because those are pitches I'm throwing. I just want to see how he executes and where he locates. It's the best place to watch from."

• While the Red Sox travel to Sarasota to play the Orioles on Wednesday, lefty Chris Sale will stay back in Fort Myers and throw a simulated game in preparation for his first Grapefruit League start on Monday in West Palm Beach against the Astros.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.