Rays' Price hopes next rehab start is last

Rays pitcher David Price warms up Friday for the Charlotte Stone Crabs in his first rehab start at Bradenton.
Rays pitcher David Price warms up Friday for the Charlotte Stone Crabs in his first rehab start at Bradenton.
Published June 25, 2013

ST. PETERSBURG — LHP David Price is looking forward to Wednesday's rehab start for Class A Charlotte, which he acknowledged could be the final one before he rejoins the Rays rotation.

"I'm sure," Price said. "I don't know the process that we have right now, but I'm sure if everything goes well and I bounce back just fine, we can take the next step forward."

Price, out since mid May with a left triceps strain, was encouraged by how well he felt in the days after Friday's first rehab start in Bradenton, when he allowed two runs (one earned) over 2⅓ innings. He didn't feel the soreness he had after his first simulated game nearly two weeks ago, which temporarily pushed his rehab schedule back.

"I felt really good in my live bullpen, and then the two days after, I was extremely sore and stiff," he said. "And I didn't have any of that after my game in Bradenton, the playing catch the next day and throwing the bullpen (Sunday), everything felt great. Back to normal."

Manager Joe Maddon said "it's not impossible" that Wednesday will be Price's last minor-league start before he comes off the disabled list but won't know until he is re-evaluated Thursday.

LONGO'S LEGS: Maddon said Evan Longoria's plantar fasciitis in his right foot has improved enough for him to play third base on Tropicana Field's turf. But Maddon said he will keep a "close eye" on Longoria and give him a day as DH if need be as the team plays six straight games on turf before heading to Houston.

Longoria has started every game this year but served as DH the final four games of the last homestand.

"I think he's mellowing a little bit and understanding it's good for him to be able to do that," Maddon said. "I think there was a time that he just did not want to DH, period. A lot of young players don't want to DH because they're baseball players and belong on the field. However, when you play on this stuff here it's a different world, and even if you're chronologically young, this can totally beat down your body and make it old fast."

MORE MOORE: LHP Matt Moore, who snapped a three-start winless streak in his last outing in New York, said he hopes to build off that tonight and get a different kind of streak going.

Moore allowed three runs in 6⅓ innings against the Yankees after giving up a combined 20 in his previous three starts. He said a key was staying aggressive in the zone and attacking early in the count, with his curveball improving, too.

Moore said he learned a lot, but stayed patient, through his rough stretch.

"Instead of trying to figure a way out and hustle to get out of that, I understood that in as long a season as this one, there's going to be ups and downs," he said. "I was more so trying to pay attention to certain things that (stunk) … and try to really just embrace that. That way I'm not nervous about something to go wrong again."

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JARRING JAYS: Maddon said he believed the Blue Jays would be good from "day one," so he's not surprised they entered Monday on a sizzling streak of 11 straight victories. "They're toasty right now, and apparently they're pitching really well and that's the big difference in the group," he said. "They're hitting like they always hit, but now all of a sudden they're pitching like they're capable so that makes them much more scary."

MISCELLANY: CF Desmond Jennings was given the day off. … RHP Jeremy Hellickson's club record-matching streak of 26 innings without allowing a walk was snapped in the second. … RHP Brandon Gomes (right lat strain) allowed one hit in a scoreless inning for Class A Charlotte at the start of a 7-10 day rehab assignment. … LHP Alex Torres allowed a run in the eighth, snapping a 25-inning scoreless streak, the second-longest in club history behind LHP J.P. Howell's 271/3 innings (June 14-Aug. 30, 2012).