Friday, February 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays shuffle others to keep Price on schedule

BOSTON — With ace LHP David Price already having one extra day since his last, and arguably worst-ever, start, the Rays didn't want to disrupt his schedule any further. So when Friday's game with the Red Sox was rained out, they kept their Cy Young Award winner as the starter for today and shuffled the rest of the rotation.

RHP Alex Cobb, who was to start Friday, was bumped to Sunday, and the other starters were each pushed back a day.

Price, who gave up eight runs on 10 hits (including a pair of three-run homers) to Cleveland on Sunday, said he was pleased he wouldn't have to wait any longer.

"We are, as starting pitchers, just kind of creatures of habit," he said. "Your body knows when it's that fifth day, and you get kind of used to throwing on that day, and whenever it's six or seven (days of rest), it gets a little weird. I was throwing (Friday), and my arm kind of almost felt too good. But I feel good right now, and I'm looking forward to getting after it (today)."

Pitching coach Jim Hickey said he had no concerns about Price, who is 0-1 with a 8.18 ERA after two starts, having allowed 17 hits (including three homers) in 11 innings. He said Price had an outstanding between-starts bullpen session Wednesday.

Price said it was encouraging.

"We talked about some stuff and kind of toyed with some things in the 'pen," Price said. "I can't give away my secrets. But I did switch some things, and it felt a lot better. It was back to what the ball was doing last year."

Hickey said once they decided to stick with Price for today, the only other point of discussion was whether to start RHP Jeremy Hellickson or RHP Roberto Hernandez in Monday's Boston Marathon day matinee. With no obvious statistical or matchup reason to change, they opted to stay in order and have Hellickson start.

ZACK ATTACK: Seeing Dodgers ace RHP Zack Greinke end up with a broken collarbone after being charged by Padres OF Carlos Quentin on Thursday, Hickey said he hopes the Rays pitchers know it's better to run than fight, even though they would look "a little bit wimpy."

"We talk about this often, and kind of in jest, but it's really something to seriously consider … to have something in spring training where we kind of enlighten pitchers on how to not necessarily defend themselves, or maybe defend themselves, but to stay out of harm's way until help can get there.

"To have that reaction (like Greinke did) to lower your shoulder and meet this guy head on like you're a linebacker is probably not the best of ideas."

Price said he has never been charged on the mound by a hitter and isn't sure how he would react. "It's kind of a spur-of-the-moment thing; you just kind of react to it," he said.

MEDICAL MATTERS: The damage to RHP Jeff Niemann's shoulder "wasn't terrible," athletic trainer Ron Porterfield said. Niemann had fraying in his rotator cuff cleaned up and a small tear in his labrum repaired, requiring two anchors. Niemann is looking at a 12-month recovery and will spend at least the next few weeks in Texas, where he lives and had the surgery, before starting rehabilitation. … DH Luke Scott (right calf strain) ran in the outfield and hopes to advance to running the bases today.

MISCELLANY: The postponement decision was made before 3 p.m. The game will be made up June 18 as the first game of what now will be a day-night doubleheader. … With the rainout following an off-day, most of the Rays went out to Fenway Park to work out in various forms even though they knew the game was off. … The Rays are getting some national exposure this weekend. Today's game is the first of their five on Fox, and it will be seen in 22 percent of the country. Sunday they are the TBS national game.

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