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Rays' Price avoids suspension, setting off Boston's Ortiz

BOSTON, MA - MAY 30: David Ortiz #34 of the Boston Red Sox is contained by an unidentified Tampa Bay Ray and umpire Jeff Kellogg #8 after teammate Mike Carp #37 of the Boston Red Sox was hit by a pitch during the fourth inning of the game at Fenway Park on May 30, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images) 477584035
Published Jun. 4, 2014

MIAMI — Major League Baseball's decision Tuesday to suspend and fine Boston pitcher Brandon Workman — but not Rays pitcher David Price — sparked another outburst from Red Sox DH David Ortiz.

Ortiz, speaking to media in Cleveland, complained first about the decision to discipline Workman, whom MLB cited for "intentionally" throwing a pitch at Rays 3B Evan Longoria's "head area," and not Price, who hit Ortiz earlier.

"We're the ones getting fines and suspensions," Ortiz said. "I guess the rules aren't for everyone. I don't think what they're doing is fair. I think the rules should be for everybody. We didn't start this up. I didn't hit nobody. Workman didn't hit anybody in the first inning. (Price) did."

Then Ortiz went after Price again, saying it was "some punk a-- s---" for Price to call him and apologize for comments after last year's playoff game then the first time they met this season to hit him.

"Basically he punked me because of what he did. I thought it was a word between man and man," Ortiz said. "I'm not going to get hit again. Not by him. He did it on purpose. He punked me and that's very disrespectful."

Price elected to not engage Ortiz this time, saying, "I'm past it. I have nothing else to say. People are going to have enough to say. I'm over it."

Rays manager Joe Maddon suggested that Ortiz, who last week said he now considered it a "war" with Price, tone down the rhetoric.

"Papi and I have had a pretty good relationship in the past. Sometimes commentary kind of oversteps, over-reaches. I'd like to believe if he had a better chance or more of an opportunity to think about it he'd respond differently," Maddon said.

"For me, for us, it's a moot point. It's a dead issue right now. I want us to continue to move it along and just play baseball."

Workman appealed his suspension — which covers only one start — maintaining that the pitch he threw behind Longoria slipped out of his hand because the ball was wet.

Longoria said the intent was "blatantly obvious" and his issue was that the pitch was up around his head. "I really just think it came down to where he threw the pitch," he said. "I just don't think it's as big a deal if he hits me in the ribcage or in the leg or whatever."

Maddon stayed pretty much out of this one, reiterating that he didn't think Price should have been suspended and saying if MLB felt Workman did something wrong, "thus, I think that's appropriate."

MLB officials are still reviewing the incident and fallout, and Price and/or Ortiz could be fined.

PRICE CHECK: Price drove home Tuesday afternoon to be rested for tonight's start, saying he will be of clear mind and sound body after the eventful week. "I just want to get it behind me," he said. "I don't think it will be an issue. I definitely feel fine mentally and physically."

MINOR MATTERS: Stone Crabs 1B Patrick Leonard, C Justin O'Conner and SS Leonardo Reginatto were chosen for the advanced Class A Florida State League All-Star Game, June 14 at Bradenton.

MISCELLANY: Maddon lost a fifth-inning challenge on Yunel Escobar's attempted steal of second, dropping to 8-14 on replay appeals. … Starting tonight, the Rays play 18 of their next 21 at the Trop. … Maddon said the decision to start Kevin Kiermaier in center was both to give him a chance to play and to give Desmond Jennings a rest. … Longoria, the Rays Baseball Foundation and the Suncoast Credit Union Foundation are teaming for the seventh year of the "Reading with the Rays — Read Your Way to the Ballpark" program, which launches with an insert in Sunday's Tampa Bay Times.

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