One bad start doesn't qualify as a rough patch. Even if it did, LHP David Price believes he could draw on experience to work through it.
"My sophomore year at Vanderbilt, I struggled big-time," he said Saturday. "I started off real well and I struggled the rest of the year. It's probably the best thing that could have happened to me. It made me a better player, made me a better person, made me a better teammate."
The 23-year-old makes his seventh start of the season today, facing the Marlins. He comes off his first rugged outing as a major-leaguer: five earned runs allowed (10 total) in a 10-1 loss to the Phillies on Tuesday night, including home runs by John Mayberry and Chase Utley.
Believing he had a good handle on all of his pitches and that the Phillies hit some good pitches, Price hasn't dwelled on the outing.
He also said he didn't fret about the tough roster decision the Rays had to make to find a spot for Scott Kazmir in the rotation.
The club optioned RHP Andy Sonnanstine to Triple-A Durham on Friday night.
"If their decision had included me, so be it," Price said. "I would have had to move on and adjust to it."
Rays owner Stuart Sternberg attended Saturday's game and held court in the dugout during batting practice.
He chatted casually about the merits and shortcomings of New York's two new baseball stadiums, but he declined to add to the discourse on the club's ongoing disappointing attendance or the latest developments on a new stadium.
The three-game World Series rematch series with the Phillies averaged 19,537 at the Tropicana Field gate, prompting club president Matt Silverman to question how his team can compete economically when such marquee games don't draw better.
Also, a group studying stadium options for the club listed three potential sites in Hillsborough County. Previously, all the sites being considered for a new stadium were in Pinellas County.
Manager Joe Maddon likes to get players who are called up or activated from the disabled list into a game as quickly as possible. He did that with RHP Chad Bradford on Saturday night.
The submarine-style pitcher, who rejoined the bullpen after having elbow surgery in February, pitched a scoreless sixth inning in which speedy Jorge Cantu reached on a throwing error by 3B Evan Longoria and Ross Gload singled.
"He's a real, true professional," Maddon said of Bradford. "He's a ground-ball artist, which I love. He's durable, although we're going to take care of him in the beginning. You probably won't see him more than two days in a row for a bit."
Bradford said that during his minor-league rehab assignment, his sinker would be good one day and his slider the next. Once he got them both working, he knew he was ready to return.
Maddon on Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez intentionally walking Dioner Navarro in the eighth inning Friday night to load the bases and bring up B.J. Upton: "That's every manager's prerogative. I would never denigrate anyone's strategy, because I do some crazy stuff myself." Upton hit a three-run double in the Rays' 7-3 victory. ... The Rays have 10 days to decide what to do with RHP Winston Abreu, who was designated for assignment when Kazmir and Bradford were activated. They can expose him to waivers, trade him or release him.