BOSTON — Injured LHP David Price is back on track to rejoin the Rays before the All-Star break, scheduled for his first rehab start Friday for advanced Class A Charlotte in Bradenton.
Price, out since mid May with a triceps strain, was set back a few days when he experienced what was called "abnormal soreness" after a June 14 simulated game, which manager Joe Maddon said they attribute to him throwing with too much intensity given his long layoff.
The Rays are not setting, or at least not releasing, an official rehab schedule or date for his return, saying Price will be re-evaluated after throwing what likely will be a couple of innings at McKechnie Field (6:30 p.m., for tickets see bradentonmarauders.com).
"See how he feels then evaluate what we want to do next and where and how much and that kind of stuff," Maddon said. "So it's going to be a game by game moment for him."
If Price were to make three rehab starts on a five-day schedule, he could rejoin the Rays on July 6.
ALEX THE GREAT: Though the Rays starters have been struggling, Maddon said they like what LHP Alex Torres is doing in relief too much to move him to the rotation.
Actually, they are trying to use Torres — who has totaled 181/3 scoreless innings over nine games — in shorter bursts so he will be available more frequently, eventually in back-to-back games, and in more critical situations.
"I don't know if it's ever going to flip back to the starting role and when, but for right now he's lining up as a pretty good high-leverage kind of relief pitcher against righties and lefties, and that's the thing that's pretty sweet," Maddon said. "I'm not afraid of putting him up against anybody right now."
COBB UPDATE: Maddon clarified that there is no timetable for RHP Alex Cobb's return because he is being evaluated daily in recovering from being hit in the head by a line drive Saturday.
Cobb was diagnosed with a concussion, and Maddon said he has headaches and "a little bit of fluid buildup" in his ear. "But nothing from what I'm hearing or reading according to the reports, he's doing really well, there's not this high level of concern," Maddon said. "It's just a matter of working through the initial impact — which was incredible as you all saw — and being patient with it. I have not received or heard any kind of definitive anythings on it."
WHY RODNEY: Maddon raised some eyebrows, including those of TV analyst Brian Anderson, by bringing in closer Fernando Rodney for the final out. But he had his reasons: Rodney hadn't pitched since Saturday, and Maddon wanted him to feel good walking off the field after a win. "A lot of people don't understand, I don't really care if they do or don't, and I don't expect them to,'' Maddon said.
A WIL, A WAY: With rookie Wil Myers taking over as the primary rightfielder, Matt Joyce will get most of the starts in left and Maddon will choose between Kelly Johnson and Luke Scott for DH duty. Myers will get an occasional game off against tough right-handers, Maddon said, and there may be times when Joyce DHs and Johnson, or even Scott, plays left.
DRAFT BREEZE: The Rays are moving toward a deal with top draft pick C Nick Ciuffo, the 21st overall pick on June 6. Not as far along are talks with the No. 29 pick, RHP Ryne Stanek.
MISCELLANY: C Jose Molina had hits in five consecutive at-bats Tuesday-Wednesday. … Joyce grounded into his first double play after 210 at-bats. … 1B James Loney ended an 0-for-20 skid. … No announcement yet, but RHP Alex Colome is set to be called up and start Saturday. … LHP Matt Moore, joking that he'll be a more mature pitcher when he starts tonight in New York since he turned 24 Tuesday, said he feels confident he has moved past the struggles of his past three starts.