Saturday, February 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays' Price sharp in low-profile start

PORT CHARLOTTE — Just from the start, getting dressed by himself in the Rays' major-league clubhouse, LHP David Price knew Wednesday was going to be a challenge.

So to get through five innings against a squad of Orioles low-level minor-leaguers on a back field with no issues, and to feel good afterward, was all he wanted.

"It's definitely a little but tougher," Price said. "There's no national anthems, there's no walk-up songs, there's no people in the stands. There's not a whole lot. You have to be kind of self-motivated.

"It was tough. When I got here, I'm the only person in the locker room, and it's pitch black. So it was good. I felt like I got out of today what I needed to, and that was getting up and down five times and throwing everything, trying to throw strikes."

Price allowed four hits (all singles) and struck out six without walking any, throwing 60 pitches (45 strikes), with pitching coach Jim Hickey looking on.

"I was able to throw strikes and get a lot of ground balls, and that was good," Price said. "My legs feel good. My back, my arm all feel very good right now. That's the main key, and that's what we were able to accomplish today."

Price pitched in the minor-league game because the big-league team had Wednesday off and he is on a five-day schedule leading to the April 2 opener. He is scheduled for another minor-league game Monday when the Rays are off again.

BALD MOVES: Manager Joe Maddon, players, coaches and team officials are set to shave their heads before Friday's game to raise funds and awareness for the Pediatric Cancer Foundation. Fans can join in, and get a Fortune Favors the Bald T-shirt, for $100, or make donations through pcfcutforacure.org or by texting "Cut" to 50555.

MISCELLANY: RHP Jeremy Hellickson will work in a minor-league game today rather than pitch against the Orioles, whom he is likely to face in the opening series of the season. … Bench coach Dave Martinez and Hellickson are guests for tonight's Countdown to Opening Day radio show, 7-8, on 620-AM. … OF Sam Fuld, out since March 3 due to right hamstring tightness, is tentatively targeted for a Saturday return. … INF Tim Beckham (facial laceration) is expected to be back on the field today or Friday.

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