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Price may cut back video games, pitches Saturday at Toronto

By The Associated Press
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NEW YORK (AP) — David Price considers himself a gamer — both on and off the field. Now he has to cut down on screen time.

A longtime video game enthusiast, the Boston Red Sox ace was diagnosed this week with carpal tunnel syndrome. He has not pitched since May 3 but is scheduled to return Saturday at Toronto.

He insists that while video games may have contributed to the condition, they're not the origin of the swelling in his left thumb, index finger and middle finger.

"This is just something that happened over time. This didn't stem from any one thing," the 32-year-old left-hander said Thursday. "I'm born in 1985, so that's the video games generation. Being a Red Sox is the least amount of video games I've ever played being in Major League Baseball."

Winner of the 2012 AL Cy Young Award with Tampa Bay, Price is 2-4 with a 5.11 ERA in seven starts during his third season with the Red Sox after agreeing to a $215 million, seven-year contract. The five-time All-Star experienced numbness in his pitching hand during a bullpen session Sunday. He had tests Tuesday and was examined by Dr. Matthew I. Leibman in Newton, Massachusetts.

Price and teammates have been spent many hours competing in the popular Fortnite, trying to fend off monsters and save the world.

"I saw the Brewers were playing Fortnite on their jumbotron. This is very common. I know a lot of teams, a lot of guys, are really into it," he said. "I've always played video games. I've always played it with my teammates, during the offseason, at the field, at the hotel. That's kind of my generation. That's what we do. If I need to shut down video games and pick up a new hobby, then so be it. But I do not think that's the cause."

He added: "If that was the cause of the problem, it started back in 1997 when I got my first PlayStation when I was 12 years old."

Price threw about 40 pitches in a bullpen session Thursday and pronounced him ready to return this week. His condition will be treated with dry needles, similar to acupuncture.

"Obviously it's going to be outing by outing," Red Sox manager Alex Cora said after watching Price throw at Yankee Stadium. "The communication has to be there. He has to be honest with us, and we will take care of him."

Price believes the injury can be controlled. He will wear a brace and will switch to his right hand for activities such as brushing his teeth.

"I don't think it's going to go away in its entirety," he said.

Surgery would be the final option.

Price was 6-3 with a 3.38 ERA in 16 games (11 starts) last year, when he was limited by an elbow injury. He said tests showed his elbow, forearm and shoulder were "pristine."

He left an April 11 start against the Yankees at Fenway Park after one inning because of a tingling sensation in his left hand, but said that was a different issue caused by a frosty night. No circulation irregularities were detected, according to the pitcher.

"I still have very cold hands and very cold feet," he said. "The lady asked if me if I could pitch with a heating glove on. And I said, 'No, ma'am."

NOTES: If there are no postponements, RHP Steven Wright will be available Monday after serving a 15-game suspension under baseball's domestic violence policy. Wright will be a reliever. "He's going to be different, obviously, with the knuckleball, but we've got catchers that it seems like they don't have a problem with that," Cora said. ... RHP Tyler Thornburg, coming back from surgery last June 16 to correct thoracic outlet syndrome, made his fifth minor league rehab appearance on Thursday. He gave up two runs and two hits while getting two outs for Double-A Portland. He will join the Red Sox in Toronto on Friday for a bullpen session, then return to the minors. ... OF Jackie Bradley Jr. was not in the starting lineup for the second straight day but faced Cora in batting practice. Bradley is hitting .173 and said Bradley's hands were too static and he was slowly finding a "better rhythm." Cora isn't sure whether Bradley will play Friday.

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