1. Rays

Rays' Longoria, Price make spring debuts

Rays third baseman Evan Longoria said he felt good after his first game of the spring.
Rays third baseman Evan Longoria said he felt good after his first game of the spring.
Published Feb. 27, 2013

PORT CHARLOTTE — The rain that cut Tuesday's game short didn't keep the Rays' two most important players, 3B Evan Longoria and LHP David Price, from making successful spring debuts.

And both made theirs interesting against an Astros split squad.

Longoria, coming off November surgery on the left hamstring that forced him to miss more than half of last season, got two hits and a series of tests on the bases. He was thrown out trying to score from second and came around to score from first.

"I felt good," Longoria said. "I felt like (the hamstring) was normal. I don't know how it looks. I know it feels and looks like it feels 100 percent than it did at the end of the season last year, and that's really all that matters.'

Manager Joe Maddon, estimating Longoria was running at about 80 percent, said he liked what he saw, especially in maintaining his gait.

"It was good to see him run a little bit," Maddon said. "All that stuff was good to get beyond that for him mentally as much as anything else. So I thought it looked fine."

Price had a scare at the start of his 19-pitch inning when he reached for Marwin Gonzalez's comebacker and was struck on his left wrist. Price said it was reaction rather than on purpose and no big deal. He didn't require treatment from the trainers. "It didn't hurt; I'm fine," he said.

Maddon, who said there was a mark on the wrist, said he knows Price is competitive but he has to avoid such plays. "That's not what you want to see right there," he said. "Fortunately, nothing bad happened."

Overall, and despite a four-pitch walk, Price said, "that's the best I've felt since I've been here. That's the most free my arm's felt. It's definitely the hardest I've thrown since I've been in camp. And it felt good. Everything felt good."

PITCHING IN: RHP Kyle Farnsworth's first game outing may not come until the end of next week. The Rays plan to limit him to eight spring appearances. Farnsworth said he has been throwing bullpen sessions with no issues: "I feel great." … Veteran RHP Joel Peralta is on a similar schedule. … RHP Jeremy Hellickson was the scheduled starter today but will work in relief. The Rays wanted to give RHP Jeff Niemann a start and put him on a different day than RHP Roberto Hernandez, with whom he is competing for the No. 5 spot.

GAME DETAILS: A seven-hit, five-run second inning led to the 7-2 51/2-inning win for the Rays (4-1). INF Ryan Roberts had two more hits, including a home run, and Leslie Anderson a double for two more RBIs, giving him a Grapefruit League-leading seven. … Maddon raved about RHP Josh Lueke's 11/3-inning outing — "Best I've ever seen him" — and also praised OF prospect Wil Myers' baserunning, saying he has been impressed with Myers' athleticism. … Maddon also was impressed — in a jet engine kind of way — with the speed of Astros OF Jason Maxwell: "He has a Pratt & Whitney on the backside of himself. He ran really well."

MISCELLANY: A half-dozen injured military members from the Tampa Bay area in the Wounded Warriors Project joined the team for pregame drills at the invitation of strength/conditioning coordinator Kevin Barr. … The Rays will be allowed to use the DH today. The Pirates can have their pitcher hit. … After pitching, Price shot several TV spots for Major League Baseball that will air throughout the season.


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