Price rolls in final spring start

Nice job: Evan Longoria, left, is congratu­lated after scoring on Yunel Escobar's single in the first. Longoria later homers in a 4-4 tie vs. the Orioles. JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times
Nice job: Evan Longoria, left, is congratu­lated after scoring on Yunel Escobar's single in the first. Longoria later homers in a 4-4 tie vs. the Orioles.JAMES BORCHUCK | Times
Published March 28 2013
Updated March 29 2013

SARASOTA — Cy Young Award winner David Price admittedly didn't pitch against the Orioles on Thursday night in his final exhibition outing the same as he will Tuesday against them in the regular-season opener.

But things couldn't have gone better. The left-hander looked sharp with his fastball, changeup and curve during a scoreless four-inning, 51-pitch tuneup in a 4-4, 10-inning tie.

"That was what we needed to do," Price said. "That was good to lead up to the next five days. I felt good. My body feels great. Arm, back, legs, it all feels ready for April 2."

Price said he was invigorated by pitching in a night game — saying at 27, he's "getting older" and it's tougher to get ready for day spring games — and knowing the season is just ahead.

Though it wasn't ideal to face the same team as he will in the opener — the Rays wanted Price to face big-league hitters because he already had pitched in two minor-league games this spring — he said it wasn't so bad, either.

"I feel like I threw some pitches that I might not have thrown in a real game situation. But I was able to get outs with it, so it is encouraging," he said. "But you do pitch them a little different because you don't want to throw them the same way you're going to throw them in five days. So it works both ways."

Manager Joe Maddon said Price was "really sharp" and "fun to watch."

GREAT SCOTT: Luke Scott's status for the opener remains in question.

Scott has been sidelined for nearly a week with right calf tightness, and though he felt well enough to run the bases during a workout at Tropicana Field and was said to have done well, he will return to action today as a DH in a minor-league game. That's a sign of concern because it preserves the Rays' ability to backdate a disabled-list move to Sunday (the day after his last major-league appearance) and would allow him to miss only six games and return April 8.

"When the bell rings (today), we'll see how he feels, if he can go out and do all that," Maddon said. "Not ask him to run as hard as he can, obviously, but just be able to see where he's at, because we need to know."

Maddon said it was not necessary for Scott to play in Saturday's exhibition finale to be on the active roster, "if legitimately he can look you in the eye and say 'I feel a lot better, and everything looks pretty good.' "

If Scott is not deemed healthy but is expected back fairly soon, the Rays would consider options on their 40-man roster such as Stephen Vogt, Chris Gimenez and Brandon Guyer.

GAME DETAILS: 3B Evan Lon­goria homered to dead centerfield and played into the 10th, then was pinch-run for by Craig Albernaz, whose spring fling continued with an appearance at second base. … CF Desmond Jennings had four hits, hiking his average to .345, and his seventh steal. … Double-A LHP C.J. Reifenhauser blew the ninth-inning lead. RHP Juan Sandoval, who is likely to open at Triple-A Durham, preserved the tie. … OF Sam Fuld had no issues with his hamstring playing in back-to-back games and made another sliding catch.

MISCELLANY: Maddon said he settled on his lineup against right-handed pitchers (assuming Scott is healthy). Longoria would bat fourth, with Jennings, Ben Zobrist and Matt Joyce in front of him, and followed by Scott, Yunel Escobar, James Loney, Jose Molina and Kelly Johnson. … The Burst Pass, a stored value card for season-ticket holders, has been expanded to several tiers of membership, with ticket holders getting a 12 percent cash back bonus for loaded funds, plus special promotions and discounts.