ST. PETERSBURG — There is nothing wrong, LHP David Price assures. And the startling lack of success thus far — winless through four starts, with a 6.26 ERA — is just a matter of things not being right.
"I feel good, I do," Price said. "I don't feel like I've hit that stride yet, and once you do, you have to be able to hang on to it. Once I have that game or have that moment and get that feeling going through my body, that's what makes the difference."
The velocity on Price's fastball has been down slightly, an average of 93.7 mph this season per fangraphs.com compared to 95.5 last year, though Price said it typically increases as the season progresses.
"I think that's just something that in due time it will come," he said. "Hopefully it comes (tonight). It's going to come. I have faith in that it'll be there."
Manager Joe Maddon sounds similarly unworried: "I have no concerns about David whatsoever. He's going to get extremely hot and just roll with it. That's just the way it's going to be. He has not pitched at the top of his game yet. … I'd say the velocity has been down just a click. But there's been other good things."
Price said he didn't feel comfortable until his fourth start last year, and he won 20 games.
GOOD LUKE HUNTING: DH Luke Scott (right calf strain) will start his long-awaited rehab assignment today with Class A Charlotte hoping to rejoin the Rays during the 10-game trip that starts Thursday.
"I'll catch them on the road trip at some point," Scott said. "If I have to hitchhike to get there, then so be it."
Scott last played March 23, and though he said he needs only a game or two to "get on the fastball," it sounds like the Rays will have a more conservative timetable.
"They want me to go down there and play and see how my leg reacts to a few days," Scott said. "I've done this process before; I know what I need to get ready."
To make room for Scott's return, the Rays would have to risk losing DH Shelley Duncan, who is out of options, or send down either INF Sean Rodriguez or Ryan Roberts. Another factor is the Rays finish the road trip May 3-5 in Colorado playing without a DH, so they could wait until after then to activate Scott.
LONGO RUN: 3B Evan Longoria has reached base in all 19 games this season and 33 straight overall.
MINOR MATTERS: The Rays finalized recent trades of Robinson Chirinos (to Texas) and Stephen Vogt (to Oakland) for undisclosed amounts of cash rather than players to be named. … SS prospect Hak-Ju Lee, who tore ligaments in his left knee Saturday in a brutal 2B collision at Triple-A Durham, is in Port Charlotte for treatment and will soon see Dr. Koco Eaton, with season-ending surgery likely.
MISCELLANY: INF Ryan Roberts had his third multihomer game and was the sixth player to hit two in a game off CC Sabathia, who allowed three for the ninth time in 388 starts. … The Rays have won 12 of their past 14 home games vs. the Yankees. … After having a DJ and a magician in the clubhouse, Maddon said he has "some ideas" for today and "Wednesday is looking good." … The Rays did early work on bunt defenses in advance of the NL-rules Rockies series. … RHP Juan Carlos Oviedo (the former Leo Nunez) is working out with the team during home games as he rehabs from Tommy John surgery. … Yankees 1B Kevin Youkilis was scratched due to a stiff back and may be out several days. … The Rays look to have caught a break, as they'll play a four-game series with the White Sox starting Thursday and not face ace LHP Chris Sale. … Rays games bumped off main radio station 620-AM due to conflicts, such as Thursday with the NFL draft, will be simulcast on 1250-AM and 97.9-FM.