ST. PETERSBURG — LHP David Price will return to the Rays' rotation and start Tuesday in Houston, the team announced Friday night.
"I'm pretty excited," Price said. "It'll be fun. It's good to be a part of the team again."
Price, out since mid May with a left triceps strain, looked good enough in his two rehabilitation starts and felt good enough after them that the Rays decided there was no reason for another such start.
"He's ready to go," manager Joe Maddon said. "We felt that pretty strongly. He feels very good. There's no reason to have him throw those 90 pitches in (Class A) Port Charlotte, so we'll just have him do it for us. He's adamant that he felt great. The medical staff feels good about it, so let's do it with us."
By starting Price on Tuesday, the Rays will be able to keep LHP Matt Moore on a somewhat regular schedule, though with one extra day of rest because of an off day, by starting him Monday. RHP Roberto Hernandez will get six days of rest and make his next start Wednesday.
The Rays will decide between rookies Alex Colome and Chris Archer for the Thursday start in Houston with the one not chosen optioned to Triple A to make room for Price. Maddon said the bodies of work from Colome and Archer have been "pretty close," so it'll be a tough call. "I honestly don't have a strong opinion right now," he said.
Price could make three starts before the All-Star break: Tuesday in Houston, July 7 at home against the White Sox and July 12 at home against the Astros. He also is slated to pitch the first game after the break, July 19 in Toronto.
"It's going to be good to get out there and face major-league hitters in a major-league venue," Price said. "It's been quite a while, and I'm ready to get back out there."
Maddon said Price initially will be on a slightly reduced pitch limit, but the team expects him to return to normal parameters quickly. Price (1-4, 5.24 ERA) hasn't pitched up to his standards in his first nine starts, but Maddon believes his return will give the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner a "great opportunity to start over for the season."
wil power: Rookie RF Wil Myers' fifth-inning solo home run in the 6-3 loss to the Tigers makes him the first Rays player to have three homers and nine RBIs in his first 11 games. Maddon said a key is when pitchers make mistakes against Myers, he's not missing them. "He's a real talent. You can see that," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "He's a young kid who is going to go through some peaks and valleys early on, probably, but he's going to settle in. It looks like he has a lot of potential. … He's really a good-looking young player."
MEDICAL MATTERS: RHP Alex Cobb (concussion) took a positive step in his recovery, playing catch with head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield. Cobb, struck in the head by a line drive June 15, smiled as he emerged from the dugout for pregame work, jokingly raising his hands in triumph and saying, "I'm a free man." There is no timetable for his return. Maddon is happy to see daily improvement. "Every time I walk by him, he tells me he's having a good day, and that's good to hear," Maddon said. "We'll just take our time with him and just follow his lead."
PITCHING IN: Archer said a mechanical adjustment suggested by pitching coach Jim Hickey boosted him in his last outing, in New York. He said it can make him more consistent going forward. Archer said he stays back over the rubber in his delivery a "tick" longer, allowing his arm to get out in front and his pitches to stay down.
MISCELLANY: INF Sean Rodriguez will sign autographs, and free hot dogs will be served, from noon-1 p.m. today at Sweetbay, 2139 34th Street N, St. Petersburg.