CLEVELAND — When LHP David Price followed up his All-Star outing with his worst start of the season Sunday in New York, he blamed himself for not being as prepared as he usually is.
Given a three-run lead, Price gave up seven runs over five innings in a 9-5 loss. But Price said he is confident he's going to get "back on track" today after returning to his regular between-starts routine.
"I feel good now," Price said. "So I'm looking for positive results."
Manager Joe Maddon said he knows from managing the All-Star Game in 2009 that there's a lot required of the starting pitcher the week of the event, and "it's not easy."
Price didn't make any excuses, saying it was his fault, not the All-Star Game or the travel arrangements.
"I know he learned a lesson from it," Maddon said. "I think it is going to benefit him and us down the road. I love the fact he is as accountable as he is."
C.C. REPORT: LF Carl Crawford (testicular bruise) returned, saying he's no longer sore and ready to go without any restrictions. He tested it by running and doing early hitting before the game.
"I just had to wait for it to get better," Crawford said.
He was hurt by an errant pickoff throw Tuesday in Baltimore.
"It was really an anomaly moment, a once in a zillion moment," Maddon said. "It was just unfortunate. Fortunately, it wasn't worse. It could have been a lot worse."
Crawford said it didn't bother him that the incident made the highlights the past few days.
"I'm on TV," he said, smiling. "You've got to take the positives out of it."
GUESS WHO?: Indians RHP Mitch Talbot, a former Rays prospect traded for C Kelly Shoppach during the offseason, makes his first start against his former team today.
Price, a teammate of Talbot while at Triple-A Durham, said he was looking forward to it. Maddon said he has not been surprised with Talbot's success. (He won five of his first seven starts and has a 3.89 ERA.)
"I like Mitch a lot," Maddon said. "He's got a nice arm, really good changeup, nice cutter, slider. When we first got him, one of the things that really stood out to me was his actual delivery. I thought it was as sound as it could be. I'm really happy for his success."
With the Rays' strong pitching depth, thanks to RHP Wade Davis emerging and RHP Jeremy Hellickson in the wings at Triple-A Durham, there was no spot in the rotation this season for Talbot, who found his opportunity with Cleveland.
"The best trades are the ones that work out for both sides, and I'm glad he's working out well for them," Maddon said.
TALKING SHOP: Shoppach, who spent the previous four seasons with the Indians, is scheduled to start today in Cleveland for the first time since the trade. Shoppach received a warm welcome Friday afternoon, enjoying chats with clubhouse attendants and employees.
"It was cool," he said. "The parking attendant said hello, (so did) the security guy at the door … a lot of people that took care of you.
"It's important for me while I'm here to say hello to all those people and tell them, 'Thank you.' "
HIGH PRAISE: Maddon continued to laud Indians RF Shin-Soo Choo, who came off the disabled list Friday after missing 14 games with a sprained right thumb. Maddon said he even tried to find a spot for Choo on the All-Star team when he was manager.
"I think he's one of the best players in the American League, period," Maddon said of Choo, who entered Friday hitting .286 with 13 home runs and 43 RBIs in 78 games.
"There's not a thing he cannot do — offense, defense, baserunning, everything. He plays the whole game and plays it right."
Maddon's pregame praise was an omen as Choo robbed Ben Zobrist of extra bases in the first by making a running catch before slamming into the wall. And Choo knocked in the Indians' second run with a groundout in the third.
Joe Smith can be reached at [email protected]ptimes.com.