CLEVELAND — With touted prospect David Price making his much-anticipated season debut Monday, manager Joe Maddon reiterated he didn't want to the hard-throwing left-hander to feel the burden of carrying the Rays on his shoulders.
But Maddon also said he wanted to get from Price what he expects from all his starters: someone who will eat innings and give the Rays a chance to win.
Tampa Bay didn't appear to need much from Price early as it built a 10-0 lead, but he was clearly disappointed he couldn't give more than 3⅓ innings with his 100 pitches.
"It all starts with starting pitching; I've got to do a better job than that," Price said. "Averaging 10 pitches an out is not good enough."
Price showed flashes of poise and power, striking out three straight hitters (clocking in the high 90s with his fastball) in the first with two runners in scoring position.
But he had trouble with his command (five walks), making for an early exit.
"I didn't really have a feel for anything tonight," Price said. "That's tough to pitch when it's like that. Still I've got to at least get through five and give the bullpen and everyone else a break."
On the mend: LHP Brian Shouse, placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left elbow strain, said he expects his absence will be short term.
But the veteran reliever will find out more today with an MRI exam on his elbow, which first "flared up" on him 10 days ago.
After his appearance May 16 against the Indians, Shouse didn't pitch until five days later, and he said everything felt fine after that outing, as well as his last outing Sunday against the Marlins.
"Everything was going fine again warming up, pitching, did all my stuff afterward," Shouse said. "And then as the evening went on, it was just like, 'Something's not right again.' It felt really stiff, throbbing, discomfort, and it kind of moved to a different spot. So we're just going to get it taken care of now so it doesn't just linger on and go from there."
Shouse, 40, acquired as a free agent in the offseason, had gone 1-1 with a 3.77 ERA in 19 games for the Rays, holding left-handed hitters to a .235 average.
To help fill Shouse's lefty specialist role, the Rays selected LHP Randy Choate from Triple-A Durham. Choate, 33, has spent all or parts of eight seasons in the big leagues, including two postseasons with the Yankees.
To clear room for Choate, OF Fernando Perez (left wrist surgery) was transferred to the 60-day DL.
Medical matters: SS Jason Bartlett, who sprained his left ankle Sunday against the Marlins, was given Monday off but said he was feeling better and hopes to return today. Maddon said he thinks Bartlett is fine, but he could need another day. … DH Pat Burrell (neck strain), who is eligible to come off the disabled list today, worked out pregame in Cleveland, but Maddon didn't know what day he'd be ready to go.
Miscellany: Maddon said that due to a short bench, he started Gabe Gross at DH, allowing flexibility with his utility players, Willy Aybar and Ben Zobrist, who were playing in the field. Gross has two homers and seven RBIs in his past three games. …LF Carl Crawford has now stolen 31 consecutive bases without being caught dating to last year.
Joe Smith can be reached at email@example.com.