by: John Tomase on Mon, 03/13/2017 - 12:15pm

David Price and the Red Sox hope his elbow stays intact. (Jake Roth/USA Today Sports)I want to believe David Price is fine. I do.

But when that requires accepting the existence of a magic elbow, well, let's just say I fear what waits around the corner.

The Red Sox starter is throwing again, albeit lightly, and this is good news. Not even two weeks ago, he found himself facing the twin reapers, Drs. James Andrews and Neal ElAttrache, in an Indianapolis hotel. Visiting them generally ends about as well as "Logan," which makes sense, since the supposed good news they delivered effectively boils down to Price possessing the restorative powers of the titular X-Men mutant.

Not even adamantium lives forever, and neither do the elbows of 31-year-old starting pitchers. Price admitted that had this injury occurred at 22 or 23, "they'd tell me to go have surgery, absolutely." I guess that's supposed to be reassuring, but . . . gulp. What that's really telling us is he's damaged enough to require medical intervention, unless you believe in magic elbows and the ability of Price's to make like the biblical proverb and heal thyself.

Call me a doubting Tomase, because I'm skeptical. Price spent Monday morning in Fort Myers telling reporters how happy he is not to be sore, how elated he is to throw ahead the trainers' timetables, how relieved he is that the inflammation's gone, but time for some tough love. That ticking sound emanating from his elbow is the ligaments grinding inexorably towards their fate, and it's hard to believe this will end well, despite Price's sunny optimism.

"I've gone through this," he told reporters. "This year was just a little bit worse. My arm got a little bit more stiff and that's why we took the precautionary actions that we took. That was the right thing to do. It doesn't matter if it sends up red flags, whatever it is. Whenever it's dealing with something like that, you want to know what's going on in there. That's what we did. If we didn't go do that, there's no telling where I'd have been mentally, because that was a lot different for me, even though it calmed down a lot. 

"At the end of it, I realized this was really no different than what I usually go through in spring training, that I expect to go through in spring training and that I've learned to deal with. At the end of the day, I feel like there's going to be a lot of good that can come from this. Just take my time and make sure I'm ready to come back."

Give Price points for positivity, but even he must know he faces miles of treacherous terrain, which is why he's not putting a timetable on his return.

"I haven't thought about that," he said. "I've got to take it day by day. You know if I set a timeline or a date that that I want to pitch in this game or whatever it is, you can have a lot of bad things come from that, I feel like. So this is, I show up, we figure out what we're going to do today, whatever we do today we want to make sure you know I want to be able to bounce back and feel good tomorrow. It's been something that's gone a lot better than what I anticipated, to be completely honest."

As for why Price isn't undergoing surgery, we're back to magic elbows.

"This isn't something that just happened," he said. "This is something that has kind of happened over time, and it's something that my elbow has kind of learned to heal itself. I've done this for quite a while now and I've done it at a very high level, and they both understood that and they both knew that. It wasn't something that just happened. If I was a lot younger, they'd have been like, 'You know what? Just go have surgery.' But they were like, 'You've been the pitcher that you've been for a long time and you've learned to kind of cope with what's going on in there. Just take some time, rest it and get back at it.'"

That doesn't sound hopeful. It sounds dire. Perhaps Price will prove us wrong, and if that's the case, Red Sox fans will rejoice. In the meantime, I choose to be a realist and recognize that we live in a world without magic.