After opting out of the 2020 MLB season due to COVID-19 concerns, Dodgers starter David Price says he plans on pitching in 2021.
“After the World Series I let them know I had every intention of playing and I wanted to be back,” Price said when asked when he made his decision. “Baseball is my first true love. Being away from it for that time was tough. I wanted to be back.”
With so much uncertainty surrounding the season last year, Price made the difficult decision to opt out, saying it was in the best interest of his health and the health of his family.
For Price, it was the first time he had ever really been away from baseball in his life. He said that it’s the most baseball he’s ever watched on TV with all his free time. When asked how many Dodgers games he watched last season, Price said he didn’t miss a single game. He watched every regular season game, along with every postseason game. Although he wasn’t at the field, he still remained close to his team.
“I was in constant contact with these guys,” he said. “I didn’t just separate myself from the game and my teammates. I wanted to be a part of it as much as I could. I think it will help me moving forward.”
Having not pitched for a while, Price was able to begin his preparation earlier than normal. He said that this is the most amount of catch he’s played in recent memory. “I feel like I’m further along than I usually am,” he said. “Haven’t thrown in game situations, but that’s what you use Spring Training for.”
Dodgers fans got a brief glimpse of Price in an LA uniform last season during Spring Training. He made two starts, throwing 4 1⁄3 innings. In his first outing he allowed two runs in 1 1⁄3 innings. Then in his next start, he settled down and looked fantastic, as he threw three scoreless innings with seven strikeouts.
The last time he pitched in a real game was March 7.
“I feel like you can’t simulate that game action until you get out there,” he said. “Even when I’m playing year to year, those first couple of spring outings always feel new. Everything feels really good right now.”
For Price, he said watching the Dodgers win the World Series made him feel better about his decision of opting out. He said had there been any other outcome, he would have felt really bad about his decision, feeling as if he could have potentially been the difference-maker in helping them get over the hump.
“When Julio threw that last strike, it lifted a weight off my chest, knowing those guys went out there and won, it made me feel good.”
When asked about his confidence in how Major League Baseball handled the COVID situation last season, Price said he thought everything was handled very well. “The training staff was bending over backward,” he said. “They did it the right way. We have a lot more information now.”