How good was the Tampa Bay Rays' David Price on Thursday night in his return from the disabled list? "That's probably the best I've felt on a baseball field maybe in my entire life, honestly," he said after overpowering the overmatched Astros for seven innings in the Rays' 8-0 victory at Minute Maid Park. Wait. Ever? "I feel that's the most control I've had of a baseball game in a very long time," Price continued. "I think that was better than I threw the ball at any point last year." All Price did last season was win 20 games, lead the American League with a 2.56 ERA and win the AL Cy Young Award. Price's line Tuesday: seven innings, three hits, 10 strikeouts. He threw just 70 pitches, too and did not reach a three-ball count to any of the 22 batters he faced. Oh by the way, 22 batters is one over the minimum for seven innings. "Spectacular," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. Not bad for someone who hadn't pitched in 44 days because of a left triceps strain. "It was awesome," Price said. "It was what I needed." Everything that was missing in Price's nine starts before his injury showed up Tuesday - his command, sharpness of his pitches, focus and velocity. "It was pretty much a complete performance," Maddon said. Price was throwing in the mid-90s, and that makes all his other pitches that much better. That eight of his season-high 10 strikeouts were called means Price had a lot of movement on his cutter and fastball. "The anchor is back," Maddon said. And so is Evan Longoria, who served as the designated hitter after missing three games with a tear in the plantar fascia tissue in his right foot. "He can't hurt himself any worse. I don't know if that thing can fully destroy itself," Maddon said before the game. "It's one of those things where you're not concerned with permanent injury, so you let it fly." Longoria took ground balls at third base early in the afternoon and moved well, but Maddon said Tuesday he didn't know when Longoria would be able to return to his field position. "That's kind of OK, but you don't want him to stand around all game and have that flare up or become more aggravated," Maddon said. Longoria had a pair of singles and drew a walk in five trips to the plate. "He looked normal," Maddon said. A decision on whether Longoria plays tonight depends on how well his foot feels when he arrives at the park. By far the biggest takeaway from the night was Price, who missed eight or nine starts during his stint on the disabled list with a left triceps strain. He was 1-4 with a 5.24 ERA in nine starts prior to the injury. His velocity was down and he looked nothing like the David Price of 2012.
Price cruises in return from DL as Rays blank Astros 8-0
Tampa Tribune | Jul 3