PORT CHARLOTTE — LHP David Price's busy offseason, highlighted by a trip to New York to pick up his Cy Young Award, forced some changes in his workout routine.
Which is how he ended up in a Manhattan hotel room one day last month working up a sweat by throwing a ball in a long white sock.
"I just kind of had to adjust what I was doing," he said. "It's kind of hard to throw in New York in a hotel when it's 25 degrees outside."
Using the sock drill, a favorite of the Rays staff, allowed him to get some work in. He also had to work around two trips to California (for MLB2K13 video game appearances and a Cartoon Network awards show) and other appearances.
But taking it slow may have its benefits, Price said. He has actually thrown off the mound more often than last offseason, and he decided to wait until later in camp to start throwing his breaking ball in hopes of avoiding the usual spring dead-arm period.
"As of right now I feel like it has benefited me because I feel better right now than I have coming into spring training before," he said. "I feel my arm has kind of bounced back very well this offseason. It's kind of been a blessing and a curse at the same time. It's been good."
E.J. A ROYAL: INF Elliot Johnson, designated for assignment last week, was sent to the Royals as the player to be named in the James Shields/Wil Myers trade and will compete for a utility role. Of being traded after 11 years in the Rays organization, Johnson, 29, said: "It's kind of a weird feeling. You always see it happen to other guys but it's kind of hard to describe when it happens to you." Still in limbo is INF Reid Brignac.
WORLD VIEW: RHP Joel Peralta may not pitch in the upcoming World Baseball Classic after all. Peralta was named to the Dominican Republic's provisional roster but said he may withdraw pending a conversation with Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman due to concerns over his offseason workload.
It sounds as if the Rays were okay with him pitching in winter ball (which he did) or the WBC, but not necessarily both.
"It's whatever is best for me and the team, or the team and me," Peralta said.
The Rays may have a similar discussion with closer Fernando Rodney, but he seems more likely to pitch for the Dominican team. C Jose Molina (Puerto Rico) and INF/OF Ben Zobrist (U.S.) are also expected to participate.
FOR STARTERS: Though nothing is official, manager Joe Maddon sure sounded as if RHP Alex Cobb has earned a starting spot, saying the 25-year-old was among those "pretty much ensconced" in the rotation. If so, that would set up a battle for the fifth spot between RHPs Jeff Niemann and Roberto Hernandez (the former Fausto Carmona), whom Maddon described as "interesting." The top three starters are Price, RHP Jeremy Hellickson and LHP Matt Moore.
MISCELLANY: Friedman said the Rays wouldn't make any decisions on Myers' readiness for the majors as they are "excited to get a chance to watch him play and be around him and see where it leads us." … All seven catchers and 27 of the 35 pitchers were at the complex Tuesday, with only RHPs Juan Sandoval and Dane De La Rosa not expected to participate today. … Maddon touted new SS Yunel Escobar as a potential All-Star and Gold Glove winner and called him "a very bright, heady player" instinctively.