NEW YORK — For a guy who gave up one earned run over 52/3 innings in his first start on the Yankee Stadium stage in a hyped matchup with ace CC Sabathia, LHP David Price was an unhappy young man Saturday afternoon.
The Rays rookie was disappointed in his performance, frustrated by the five walks he allowed and his inability to get deeper into the game.
"I've got to get over that hump," Price said. "I've got to get to the sixth and seventh inning to really be effective. It's something I'm working on, something I need to get better at."
Of his 106 pitches, half were balls, leading to the walks. "It's unacceptable," he said. "It's never been a part of my game right there, and I've got to fix it."
While Price, 23, was moping that he "just didn't have it today," other Rays were much more upbeat about his performance.
Manager Joe Maddon lauded his composure, and C Dioner Navarro said it's obvious that he's getting better. "The most important thing is that he needs to get his confidence, and I think he's doing a great job," Navarro said. "He's special."
BAD DAY: Navarro made errors on three throws in the first five innings, most by a catcher since Cleveland's Einar Diaz on June 1, 2001, also in New York against the Yankees. The modern-day record for errors by a catcher in a game is four, last done by Boston's Bill Moore in 1927.
Navarro said there was nothing wrong except apparently his aim. "It's one of those things," he said. "I was throwing the ball good and it wasn't going good."
ANDY'S GREAT ADVENTURE: RHP Andy Sonnanstine has already gotten to hit in three games this season. Saturday he got to pinch-run, after still-hobbling Evan Longoria was intentionally walked in the ninth.
Sonnanstine had two key moments.
First, he held at second when a ball squirted past C Jorge Posada, earning some mock scorn from Maddon: "Sonny keeps telling me what a great baserunner he is, then the ball gets beyond the catcher and he's just a deer in the headlights. I'm looking at him from the dugout going, 'What's going on?' "
But Sonnanstine said he held because he wasn't sure where the ball was, and that he asked Yankees SS Derek Jeter, who said it was the right move.
Then Sonnanstine scored from second on Carl Crawford's single to left, taking advantage of Johnny Damon's weak arm. He got an assist from RHP James Shields, who yelled from the dugout for third-base coach Tom Foley to send him.
"I saw (Foley) hesitate a bit and I actually did hear Shields so I just kind of stepped it up a notch and kept going," Sonnanstine said.
LONG WAIT: Longoria hopes to be in the lineup today for the first time since leaving Tuesday's game with left hamstring tightness. He went through an extensive workout before Saturday's game, but the Rays opted for caution. He will be further evaluated after a special batting practice this morning.
PITCHING IN: Looks like RHP Jeff Niemann's next start will be pushed back from Tuesday to Wednesday, allowing Shields to start Tuesday and pitch twice during the six-game homestand.
MISCELLANY: Both teams gave up their DH when making late-inning changes, but no pitchers hit. … DH Pat Burrell (neck strain) is on a schedule to rejoin the team Friday; he'll start a two-game rehab assignment Monday with Double-A Montgomery and may play Thursday for Class A Charlotte. … Maddon's mom, Beanie, will be among a busload of fans coming today from his hometown of Hazleton, Pa. … The Rays are 3-0 at the new Yankee Stadium; they've won their first four games at a park once, at Baltimore's Camden Yards. … Principal owner Stuart Sternberg and family were in the stadium; so were actor Will Ferrell and Jets coach Rex Ryan.