Television cameras appeared to catch Price wincing following one of his pitches in the frame, and his velocity was slightly down during the brief outing. Cora quickly emerged from the dugout and had a long chat with the former Cy Young winner before taking the ball from Price and replacing him with Colten Brewer, who had started to warm up moments before.
"He's been battling the flu for four days," Cora said during an in-game interview with FOX broadcasters, according to MassLive's Chris Cotillo. "His progression through the week wasn't the right one. I talked to him before the game, and he said, 'I'm going to go out there and battle.'"
Price maintained postgame that it was Cora's decision to pull him.
"I could have just ducked this start from the get-go. I didn't want to do that; I didn't want to put us in that position," he said, according to Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe. "I went out there and tried to take the ball and AC didn't like what he saw so he took me out of the game. I wanted to stay in the game."
At 2/3 of an inning, Saturday represents the shortest start of Price's 12-year career.
Price came off the injured list earlier this week after missing close to three weeks of action with left elbow tendinitis. He threw five innings in Toronto on Monday and picked up the win after allowing just two unearned runs on three hits with four strikeouts.
The 33-year-old came into Saturday sporting a 3.29 ERA and 1.07 WHIP while averaging a career-best 10.1 strikeouts per nine innings over his first seven outings of 2019.