PORT CHARLOTTE — Acquired in the Jason Bartlett trade with San Diego, RHP Adam Russell came into spring training hoping to get noticed.
Just not like this.
Russell caused the first major concern of camp when he drilled B.J. Upton with a fastball in the ribs during batting practice, sending him to the ground hard and fast. Upton was down for several minutes, but said aside from being sore — "It just hurt, bad" — he would be fine.
"Not a good way to make a first impression on a team," said Russell, the 6-foot-8 hard thrower. "I feel terrible about it. … You don't want that ever to happen again. You don't want to hit your own teammates, that's for damn sure."
Upton returned to complete the workout and said he won't miss any time.
"I just knew he hit me in the right spot to make it hurt," Upton said. "It will be a couple days before it's back to normal but it's nothing serious. It definitely could have been a lot worse, but it's nothing."
Manager Joe Maddon said it was hard not to think the worst, especially not knowing where Upton was hit.
"It was pretty firm," Maddon said. "He's swinging the bat so good right now, and I'm thinking here's this guy that's ready to roll and all of a sudden that's a setback. But it looks like he's going to be okay."
Upton said it was the first time, or even the second, that he was hit by a teammate during batting practice, that in 2003 in his first camp he was hit twice by veteran RHP Bob Wells on the same day.
Upton and Russell hugged afterward on the field, but Upton, after saying the trainers were ordering him a flak jacket, joked that there will be some payback.
"We're going to come up with something," he said.
REALLY LIVE BP: LHP David Price made quite the impression during his mound session, breaking the bats of three pretty impressive hitters — Evan Longoria, Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez.
"He's a pretty good pitcher, too," Damon said. "Some say he actually could be the best out there now. It's okay. It happens."
Price tried to downplay his accomplishment, saying he wasn't going to name any names, and that: "I think I was throwing a little slower than they expected so they were out in front."
PITCHING IN: RHP Wade Davis, the projected No. 4 starter, will throw his first batting practice session today, having skipped Tuesday in favor of extra work Monday. … RHP Jeremy Hellickson continues to show improvement with his strained right hamstring and is targeted to get back on the mound during the weekend. … Price said he was excited to start Saturday's exhibition opener because there will be "a good buzz in the air," and hadn't looked ahead to the April 1 season opener. "That's obviously something I would want to do, but I haven't thought about it," he said. … RHP Kyle Farnsworth, the most experienced of the new relievers, will make his exhibition debut Monday.
MISCELLANY: The Rays will have a controlled intrasquad game Friday as part on an abbreviated workout due to the team charity golf tournament on the Ritz-Carlton course at Lakewood Ranch. … RHP Albert Suarez is sidelined with a bruised left knee. … Price will speak to a group of minority students about education tonight in Tampa as part of the Black, Brown & College Bound Summit at Hillsborough Community College.