Dodgers' David Price isn't quite ready to say he's retiring after season

Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher David Price (33) aims a pitch during the ninth inning.
Dodgers reliever David Price delivers a pitch against the Miami Marlins on Aug. 26. (Marta Lavandier / Associated Press)

David Price hasn’t decided if he will retire at the end of the season.

At least not yet officially.

After a report from USA Today on Sunday morning said the Dodgers veteran was planning to retire at the end of the season, Price clarified with reporters that he has yet to make a final decision and that he first wants to focus on finishing the year.

It echoed what Price had told The Times during a Saturday afternoon interview at Oracle Park.

“Just want to see how this year unfolds,” the left-handed pitcher said, “and see what happens in October.”

It’s certainly possible, if not likely, that this is the final year of Price’s decorated 14-year career — which is part of the reason he has been striving to return from a wrist injury that has kept him out since the start of this month.

“My last couple appearances [before getting hurt], I didn’t throw the ball the way I wanted to,” Price said. “If this is it, I want to go out strong.”

There are few accolades Price hasn’t achieved since breaking into the majors in 2008. He won a Cy Young Award in 2012, and an ERA title that year as well as in 2015. He is a five-time All-Star with 157 wins. He’s received a couple World Series rings, too, with the Boston Red Sox in 2018 and the Dodgers in 2020 (though he sat out that season because of the pandemic).

This year, Price is hoping he can be part of another title team.

A full-time reliever for the first time in his career, he has a 2.58 ERA in 38 appearances, providing some experienced depth in a bullpen that has battled injuries.

“Just kind of found a routine for myself that works,” Price said of the transition. “It’s a lot different being in the bullpen as a starter. Just finding that routine, it took me a little over a year to find it. But once I found it, things started to click, was able to get outs quickly, bounce back and feel good.”

Manager Dave Roberts said Price had dealt with some minor ailments over the course of the season.

Yet, it wasn’t until the recent flare-up of his wrist — a body part that has given him trouble before, including requiring surgery in 2019 — that an injured list stint became necessary.

Price said his recovery has been going well. He felt good in both of his bullpen sessions this past week, and could begin facing live hitting again in the coming days.

If that goes well, he should be back on the active roster before the end of the season, though his chances of making the playoff roster remain unclear, with several other relievers expected back soon from injuries, too.

"We have a lot of moving parts, moving pieces and a lot of good options,” Roberts said. “So I don't know how it's gonna fit.”

What would Roberts think if Price, whose contract with the Dodgers expires this offseason, calls it quits after the campaign?

“He’s had a great career,” Roberts said. “The legacy that he has being a teammate is first class. But I’m sure he’s motivated to get back and pitch and be healthy. He’s worked hard to do that, and my hope would be that he would get healthy and be able to help us.”

Long term, Price still has to decide if a 15th MLB season fits in his larger plans.

While rehabilitating at the Dodgers' spring training complex in Arizona at the start of his IL stint this month, the 37-year-old got to spend some time at home with his wife and two young children.

“It’s a grind,” he said with a laugh. “When they’re not in school, on those weekends, it’s a lot.”

As Price went through rehab work Saturday in San Francisco, his oldest, 5-year-old Xavier, was playing in his first coach-pitch baseball game back home.

“I got a lot of it on video and stuff like that,” Price said, standing in right field after completing a bullpen session. “But …”

His voice tailed off.

In case he does decide to retire this winter, Price has made a point of soaking in the little things a more this season.

“I’m trying to have as much fun as possible and enjoy being with the guys,” he said. “That’s something I’ve always loved. I love the game of baseball, but even more than that, I love being in the clubhouse, I love being on the airplane, on the bus. To me, that’s what I would miss the most, not playing anymore.”

Until then, however, he’s hoping for at least one more chance to get back on a big league mound — and be part of a postseason October run.

“I want to get back to throwing the baseball like [earlier in the year], help this team these last two or three weeks and see what happens in October,” he said.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.