After opting out of the 2020 season due to COVID concerns, David Price returned to the Dodgers in 2021. With a crowded rotation, Price told the front-office he was willing to do whatever was asked of him, which meant coming out of the bullpen for the first time in his career.
The veteran appeared in 39 games in 2021, making 11 starts. Price never was able to get truly built up, as he spent time on the Injured List and went back-and-forth between the bullpen and the starting rotation. His longest start was 5 2⁄3 innings and he only went at least five innings twice.
Price’s 2021 campaign got off to a rough start in Colorado, as he allowed five runs in 3 2⁄3 innings. He really settled down after that, as he posted a 1.50 ERA and 1.17 FIP over his next five outings. Unfortunately, a hamstring injury sidelined him right as he was heating up.
After missing nearly a month, Price returned to LA’s bullpen. Over the next six weeks, Price was solid yet again. He appeared in 16 games, even making three starts. Though he was pretty much used as an opener for a bullpen game in those starts, as he failed to pitch three innings in all three games.
With a depleted starting rotation heading into the All-Star break, the Dodgers opted to add Price to the starting rotation.
“As we look out into the near future, I think David Price, the idea of building him up starts to make more sense,” Dave Roberts said in July. “Once we get to the break, we’ll have a clearer vision.”