Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Former Ray David Price still feels at home at Trop

ST. PETERSBURG — When David Price strolled into Tropicana Field shortly before 1 p.m. Tuesday, he went right into the Rays clubhouse. Not by rote, not by accident, not surreptitiously.

"I went through the front door," he said. "I went on purpose."

Price has been a member of the Detroit Tigers team for 21 days now, but he'd been a Ray for the first seven years of his professional life, so there were people, dear friends actually, to see, to talk with, to hug, even to play a quick game of video hockey with. (He claimed he was rusty then beat Jake Odorizzi.)

"When he walked into the clubhouse today, it was like David walking into the clubhouse," Rays pitcher Alex Cobb said, indicating how normal it seemed. "Kind of like he was in the weight room, (just) hanging out."

A few hours later, Price walked out of the visitors' clubhouse in Tigers shorts, sweatshirt and cap. He sat in the third-base dugout and talked for 10 minutes about the trade, how he wanted to stay but understood the reasons for the deal, the adjustment he has had to make and his new team — and still referred a couple times to the Rays as "we."

"These guys will always have a special part of me," he said. "I try not to do it, absolutely, but I guess I've said it a couple times during this interview. I don't know, I still care about those guys."

They've tried to stay close, sharing text messages of "Happy Start Day" and good luck, mixing in some humor and some trash-texting from pitching coach Jim Hickey. But it's not the same.

Price also has been getting acclimated and ingratiated with his new Tigers teammates and their routines, acknowledging the challenge of an in-season deal. And the Rays are getting used to life without him.

"It's just like, if you've got a group of friends and one took a job and uprooted and left. You try to stay in touch as much as you can, but you're interacting with somebody every day and they're just uprooted and sent off somewhere else. It's just weird," Cobb said.

"The normal is not the normal anymore. It's just something you don't want to get used to, but you do."

Things will be weirder Thursday, when Price pitches against the Rays. He said he preferred that his turn would have not come up this series.

"Pitching against friends is always the worst," Price said, joking about throwing a pitch behind good buddy Evan Longoria. "I'm just going to try not to smile when I'm on the mound. I definitely want to have fun when I'm playing baseball and pitching. I'm definitely going to have to be a little more focused on Thursday."

He is looking forward to what should be a loud and perhaps emotional ovation from Rays fans who never got a chance to say goodbye before the trade. (There was a small sample Tuesday when the Rays showed a short video tribute of Price highlights during the game, and he tipped his cap in return.)

"I'm excited for that," Price said. "I think that's probably going to be the coolest part of it."

Rays manager Joe Maddon, who had issues with fans cheering for Yankees star Derek Jeter over the weekend, said he hopes Price gets a big ovation, noting the difference in the situations.

"There absolutely should be a great response to David," he said. "He's done some really good work for the Rays in the recent past."

Comments

Tampa Bay Rays make a small deal, acquire INF Joey Wendle

While continuing discussions on bigger topics, the Rays made a small deal Monday, acquiring INF Joey Wendle from the A's for a player to be named later or cash.Wendle, 27, spent part of the last two seasons in the majors, hitting .266 over 36 games. ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 1

Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 1

UPDATE, 6:14: The Rays continued talks with no major moves seemingly close, but did make a small deal, acquiring INF Joey Wendle from the A's. Wendle, 27, has spent parts of the last two seasons in the majors, hitting .266 in 36 games. He is a lefty ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Winter meetings journal: Rays closer Alex Colome drawing interest

Winter meetings journal: Rays closer Alex Colome drawing interest

LAKE BUENA VISTA — The Rays made a small deal Monday in acquiring INF Joey Wendle from Oakland while continuing to discuss bigger ones that seem likely to eventually lead to the trade of closer Alex Colome and then others.The Rockies and Mets joined ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Yankees’ acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton may hasten Rays’ dismantling

Yankees’ acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton may hasten Rays’ dismantling

LAKE BUENA VISTA — The latest obstacle keeping the Rays from contending in the American League East loomed even larger Monday afternoon in pinstripes.The Yankees’ formal introduction of Giancarlo Stanton also could be an accelerant to the departure o...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Rays manager Kevin Cash on trade speculation, bullpen staffing, Yankees addition of Giancarlo Stanton

Rays manager Kevin Cash on trade speculation, bullpen staffing, Yankees addition of Giancarlo Stanton

Rays manager Kevin Cash was first up in the media room at the winter meetings today and here are a few up the more interesting things he said:* On trade speculation regarding their veterans such as Chris Archer and Evan Longoria: "I know there is a l...
Published: 12/11/17
Tampa Bay Rays cornerstone Evan Longoria “somewhere in limbo” due to trade speculation

Tampa Bay Rays cornerstone Evan Longoria “somewhere in limbo” due to trade speculation

Franchise cornerstone 3B Evan Longoria considers his future with the Rays "somewhere in limbo" based on speculation he could be traded as part of a cost-cutting and rebuilding movement."I don't know what to think, really,'' Longoria told the Tampa Ba...
Published: 12/11/17
Veteran 3B Evan Longoria as uncertain as anyone about Rays’ plans

Veteran 3B Evan Longoria as uncertain as anyone about Rays’ plans

LAKE BUENA VISTA — Uncertain with all the talk about potentially rebuilding if the Rays would go as far as trading franchise cornerstone 3B Evan Longoria?So is he."I don’t know what to think, really,’’ Longoria said via text message Sunday night as t...
Published: 12/10/17
Updated: 12/11/17
AL East life gets even tougher for Rays with Yankees acquiring slugger Giancarlo Stanton from Marlins

AL East life gets even tougher for Rays with Yankees acquiring slugger Giancarlo Stanton from Marlins

The Marlins apparently found a trade to Giancarlo Stanton's liking, reportedly striking a deal early Saturday to send the slugging outfielder to the Yankees.That's bad news for the Rays and the other AL East teams, who will now have to face Stanton &...
Published: 12/09/17
Rays radio broadcaster Andy Freed takes part in event supporting fight against ALS

Rays radio broadcaster Andy Freed takes part in event supporting fight against ALS

Tampa Bay Rays radio broadcaster Andy Freed was up early Saturday to meet up with the Bladerunners team in Clearwater at the ALS Association Florida Chapter's annual Ride, Run, Roll to Defeat ALS, supporting Mike Leist, a former history teacher at St...
Published: 12/09/17
Winter Meetings Preview: Ranking the Rays most likely to be dealt

Winter Meetings Preview: Ranking the Rays most likely to be dealt

Rays officials head to Disney for this week’s winter meetings admitting they don’t know what they’re doing. Wait — that’s not exactly right. It’s more that they don’t know what they’re going to do.Having spent months collecting info and discussing op...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/09/17