MIAMI — When CF B.J. Upton first raced into the clubhouse Saturday afternoon with the news that LHP David Price was down on the field after being struck by a ball during Marlins batting practice, the Rays assumed the worst.
"I'm thinking head, blood, concussion," manager Joe Maddon said.
But as details emerged and Maddon saw that the teammates circled around Price were laughing, his concerns dissipated. He felt even better with word that Price is expected to take the mound as scheduled this afternoon.
Price was struck in the, well, let's say, groin while playing catch with Wade Davis as a changeup took an unfortunate bounce.
"Apparently, Wade threw a pretty good changeup, and it was miscalculated on the receiving end," Maddon said. "It's one of those really unusual moments, but I'm sure he's fine. For all you males out there, you know exactly what that feels like, and it's no good."
Price was in obvious discomfort on the field and when walking off with assistance and didn't look much better afterward as he sat in front of his locker with a large trash can next to him.
He left the stadium around the first inning to go back to the hotel to rest and said, in comments relayed by Rays PR man Rick Vaughn: "I was throwing with Wade. He threw a changeup that had some really good depth to it and it got under my glove and bounced up and got me. I'm not feeling great right now, but I should be okay (today)."
MATCHING UP: Price leads the AL with 10 wins and a 2.31 ERA, but he is the lesser partner in today's marquee matchup with Marlins ace Josh Johnson.
"I think he is, I don't know, top five," Maddon said. "People don't even know that. I'm talking both leagues. That's how good he is. David's on his way. This is David's first real killer year that he's got going on right now, and I believe he'll arrive at that point. But that guy is one of the better pitchers in baseball and people don't even talk about him."
MATT'S MAKEOVER: RHP Matt Garza and pitching coach Jim Hickey went for a 35-minute Saturday afternoon run through the Sun Life Stadium parking lots. By the time they came back, Garza said the hangover from Friday night's horrid showing was gone, and he had a plan in place to work his way back up from "rock bottom."
"It's a flush, that's all it is," Garza said. "It happens. And it's just time to get back and start grinding it again. That's it. Just find out what was wrong and what went wrong and get after it."
The biggest problem in Garza's historically bad performance — 11/3 innings, seven runs, 71 pitches — was a stunning lack of command, which is what he will now focus on.
"You've just got to get back to the beginning, start from the bottom," he said. "There's no better place to build a foundation than rock bottom, so that's what we're going to do."
ABOUT FRIDAY NIGHT: Before Garza, the last time a Rays starter pitched that little and gave up that many runs was Sept. 12, 2006, when — drudging out another name from the past — Tim Corcoran allowed seven runs and got only one out against the Yankees. … Friday was only the fifth time this season a Rays starter didn't go at least five innings, matching the Cubs for fewest in the majors. … RHP Andy Sonnanstine's 42/3 scoreless relief innings were the most in the majors this season, and most since the Yankees' Sergio Mitre went five scoreless on Sept. 20 vs. Seattle.
MISCELLANY: LF Carl Crawford's sixth-inning triple was the 98th of his career. … SS Jason Bartlett won't be in the lineup today as Maddon continues to handle him cautiously since his Wednesday return from the DL. … C John Jaso resumed his duty as the leadoff hitter against right-handed starters. … Going into play Saturday, RHP Grant Balfour's 0.60 was the best career interleague ERA of all pitchers with at least 30 innings.