BALTIMORE — LHP David Price admitted he was "a little bit scared" as he prepared to test his sore left shoulder in a Tuesday afternoon bullpen session that would determine if he could return to the rotation.
Turns out, there was no reason to worry.
Price threw well enough in a 30- to 35-pitch session, and felt good enough afterward, that he is now set to start Friday night at Yankee Stadium.
"I felt very good," Price said. "It was a good step forward. We should be good to go."
Manager Joe Maddon said he'll wait to see how Price feels today before making it official, but — in a rare appearance at a pregame throwing session — saw enough watching Price play catch before taking the mound to know he was well.
"He was real loose, real free, no hesitancy, good finish," Maddon said. "Then I stuck around and watched him in his bullpen — outstanding. I always look for the end: Is anybody holding back, are they grimacing, what does their face look like. It was all good."
Though expected to miss only one start, Price admitted to being more concerned than he let on with his first shoulder issue.
"It's been on my mind quite a bit the last week and a half," he said. "It's something I've never been through and it's something I really hope I never have to go through again. It feels good now, but it's something, I didn't know how it was going to respond, I didn't know how it was going to feel throwing a bullpen, I didn't know if it was going to bounce back. I've never been through this process before. It's something I was definitely a little bit scared about."
The Rays are set to start Price, RHP James Shields and LHP Matt Moore in New York. Maddon said the Rays will keep RHP Chris Archer available just in case Price can't go.
MEDICAL MATTERS: LF Desmond Jennings came in Tuesday saying the stiffness in his back subsided enough that he could play after missing the past two games, but Maddon and head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield wanted him to instead go through drills and wait at least one more day. … Evan Longoria said he felt good enough to play third, but Maddon said they wanted to be cautious and stick to their usual plan of having him DH the day after a travel day. He should be back at third tonight. … INF Sean Rodriguez took ground balls and threw without the splint on his fractured right hand and is set to be activated off the DL when eligible Saturday, though he will be limited to pinch-running, playing defense and possibly bunting.
SAD NEWS: Lisa Allen, 54, the wife of Triple-A pitching coach Neil Allen, died Sunday in Sarasota after suffering an aneurysm. Allen, who pitched 11 seasons in the majors, has been with the Rays since 2007.
MINOR MATTERS: Short-season Class A Hudson Valley lost 5-4 in 10 innings to Tri-City (Astros) in the opener of the NY-Penn League best-of-three championship series. RHP Jesse Hahn starts Game 2. … Top draft picks RHP Taylor Guerrieri (2011) and Richie Shaffer (2012) are among 46 players who started instructional league workouts in Port Charlotte.
MISCELLANY: 2B Ryan Roberts was relieved there was no fracture after feeling pain from his left forearm to thumb after a collision; he hopes to play today. … RHP Burke Badenhop, pitching for the first time in nine days, was not sharp. … Triple-A manager Charlie Montoyo joined the team. … Radio man Dave Wills will miss this series and the next due to his mother's health.