ST. PETERSBURG — The good news in the first update on injured LHP David Price is that he feels "great" and is eager for the next stage in his recovery from a triceps strain.
The not-so-good news is that he hasn't even started throwing yet, which on a conservative timetable could push his return to the Rays rotation back to mid to late June.
Price is eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list Friday but obviously won't be ready. He hopes to start playing catch in the "next couple days" and said his progression through the usual stages of recovery will be based on how he responds.
"If it feels good, just keep going," Price said.
As for when Price thinks he will make his next start for the Rays?
"I honestly have no idea," he said. Manager Joe Maddon said there was nothing new to report on a timetable. Head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield, speaking to a youth clinic Saturday morning, made the analogy to not picking a scab, saying they have to wait for the muscle to heal before increasing activity. "You have to go day by day," Porterfield said.
Price said both the waiting and the watching have been difficult.
"I feel great, I really do," he said. "That's probably the toughest thing for me right now: My arm feels the way it does, my body feels the way it does and I'm not able to do anything yet because we have to give it time. I understand that, I do."
BAD JOSH: RHP Josh Lueke hasn't taken advantage of his chances, giving up the winning run in his last two outings, a bases-loaded double Monday in Toronto and an 11th-inning homer Saturday to Lyle Overbay. "It is frustrating,'' he said. "Today was more or less one mistake, and he happened to hit it.''
BAD LIST: The Rays have had 11 minor-leaguers suspended for drug-related reasons since the start of the 2012 season, five more than any other team.
"We're obviously extremely disappointed any time we learn of a positive drug test," executive VP Andrew Friedman said. "I think there are different circumstances that apply to each case but from a process standpoint, we feel really good about our internal protocol when it comes to educating our minor-league players. That said, we'll continue to figure out different ways to reach our young players and continue to educate them. We're in full support of baseball's programs and policies."
BAD BERT: RHP Roberto Hernandez was not on the field taking batting practice with the Rays' other starting pitchers Saturday. But he will be on the mound Wednesday night in Miami as scheduled, despite lasting only six innings combined in his past two starts, allowing 10 runs on 14 hits.
"We're just trying to figure out what the problem has been over the past couple of games," Maddon said. "We have an idea about that. We just have to get him better in certain moments and execution of his pitches."
MISCELLANY: The Rays are 5-11 in one-run games, second worst in the majors. ... The loss snapped a streak of 11 wins in games started by LHP Matt Moore. … Bucs DT Gerald McCoy arrived too late to throw the ceremonial first pitch due to a minor car accident; no injuries were reported. … Rookie-level Princeton coach Reinaldo Ruiz joined the big-league staff with assistant hitting/catching coach Jamie Nelson away on a family matter. … Triple-A manager Charlie Montoyo picked up his 500th win at Durham. … Second-grader Alex Ortiz of Tampa's Corbett Prep/Independent Day School won the right to host INF/OF Ben Zobrist Tuesday as winner of MetroPCS's "Take Zobrist to School" promotion. … RHPs Jake Odorizzi and Jamey Wright will sign autographs for kids at 12:30 today along the rightfield line. … Rays wives and girlfriends will take on Marlins counterparts in an annual softball game at 1 p.m. Monday; the Rays are raising money for Autism Speaks, to donate email [email protected]