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Pitching prospect David Price impressive in longest spring outing for Tampa Bay Rays

Top prospect David Price, pitching four shutout innings in his longest outing of the spring, says he feels more confident in his changeup but still needs more innings.

BRIAN CASSELLA | Times

Top prospect David Price, pitching four shutout innings in his longest outing of the spring, says he feels more confident in his changeup but still needs more innings.

PORT CHARLOTTE — The Rays may indeed decide to have LHP David Price start the season in Triple A, but the touted prospect isn't ready to concede that quite yet.

Price, 23, pitched four scoreless innings in Sunday's start, his longest outing of the spring. Though he acknowledged he needs more work, Price said he's now comfortable throwing his changeup "at any time" and would be disappointed if he doesn't break camp.

"It's still getting there; I don't feel like David Price right now," said Price, who allowed three hits and had four strikeouts in the Rays' 5-0 win over the Yankees. "It might take a couple more starts, couple more outings. … If I'm getting innings, I'd love to get them in the big leagues. If I want to work on stuff, I'd love to work on it up there, getting real reactions from those hitters."

Price has pitched just 81/3 spring innings as the Rays have eased him into camp due to his workload last season and due to his pitching late into October.

Price was happy he also found his release point on his slider Sunday. Does he think he can "feel like David Price" by opening day on April 6? "Absolutely."

PEREZ OUT LONGER: Fernando Perez's dislocated left wrist is worse than first thought, pushing back the speedy outfielder's expected return from three months to four or five.

Perez was found to have more extensive ligament damage on the underside of the wrist during an arthroscopic procedure Saturday in Arizona by Dr. Donald Sheridan and had pins inserted to help the healing.

"The good news is that we caught it now; had we not, it could have been something that plagued him for the rest of his career,'' Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman said. "It could have ended up being a much bigger problem.'' If there are no complications, Perez should be able to return before the end of the regular season.

MINOR MATTERS: RHPs James Shields and Andy Sonnanstine pitched in minor-league exhibitions. Both struggled somewhat with their command but felt good that they worked out of some jams.

Sonnanstine, starting for Double A, said his control was "a little bit erratic." He gave up six hits and walked two in four innings but gave up just one run.

Shields walked four before settling down to strike out five, giving up two runs in five innings in a Triple-A game.

"You can kind of treat it like during the season: You're not going to have your good stuff every day, you've got to battle through it," he said.

IN THE SWING: OF Matt Joyce said "everything felt great" physically after he went 0-for-2 with two walks during a Triple-A exhibition in the morning and 0-for-2 with a strikeout in the big-league game, his first Grapefruit League action after being sidelined with right leg tendinitis. He just missed a homer in his first at-bat against the Yankees, but wind helped halt his fly ball to right at the warning track.

GIVE AND TAKE: The Rays were among 22 teams named in a grievance filed by the union claiming that players should not be required to make donations to team charities as part of their contracts. Rays players signing multiyear contracts typically make donations to the Rays Baseball Foundation.

MISCELLANY: RHPs Troy Percival and Jason Isringhausen each pitched a scoreless inning, with Percival allowing his first baserunner in four outings. Pat Burrell will start in leftfield today. … The Rays Hot Stove Radio Show goes live tonight at 7 from Joe Cracker Sportsgrille and Tiki (1020 El Jobean in Charlotte County), with C Dioner Navarro and bullpen coach Bobby Ramos.

Pitching prospect David Price impressive in longest spring outing for Tampa Bay Rays 03/22/09 [Last modified: Monday, March 23, 2009 7:58am]
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