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Red Sox may use David Price out of the bullpen down the stretch

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Red Sox starter David Price threw a three-inning simulated game on Wednesday, one of the last hurdles before his eventual activation from the disabled list. Manager John Farrell will sit down with Price on Thursday to determine his role going forward. He said it would be “aggressive” to put him back in the rotation, MLB.com’s Ian Browne reports, so it sounds like the club is leaning towards using him out of the bullpen down the stretch.

Price, 32, hasn’t pitched since July 22 due to inflammation in his left elbow. He also started the season late, debuting on May 29 due to an elbow issue. Overall, he has made 11 starts on the season with a 3.82 ERA and a 63/22 K/BB ratio in 66 innings.

Price inked a seven-year, $217 million contract with the Red Sox after the 2015 season, but the last two years haven’t gone as planned for either side. Winning in the playoffs this year, however, would be a healing salve to all of that.

Video: J.D. Martinez hits league-tying 23rd home run

Seattle Mariners v Boston Red Sox
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The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.

In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.

The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.

Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.