ST. PETERSBURG — Several of LHP David Price’s now former teammates gathered at Price’s house Thursday night, a few hours after the three-team trade that sent Price to the Tigers, to say goodbye to their friend.
“That was just weird,” RHP Alex Cobb said. “It was a strange day.”
On Friday, it was business as unusual as the Rays assembled in the clubhouse for the start of their three-game series with the Angels. Price’s extra-wide locker in the corner of the clubhouse was empty. Gone was the gum dispenser that stood next to it, topped with a Fathead of his dog Astro.
“Have to turn the page,” RHP Chris Archer. “We had an off day to digest it, and now it’s all about who we have and what we’re capable of going forward.”
3B Evan Longoria said he didn’t expect any hangover from the trade to grip the team, mainly because everyone in the clubhouse expected there would be a day when Price was traded and because trades are part of the game.
“This game, it’s almost unfortunate, but it does have a way of forgetting guys really quickly. And I know I’ll never forget David and what he meant to this organization and what he means to me as a friend,” Longoria said. “(The game) has a funny way of moving forward. That’s not meant to hurt his feelings or anything. But I’m sure he understands that once he gets into (the Detroit) clubhouse that he’s going to have to put us behind him and worry about winning for the Tigers and their organization.”
If there was a positive to the trade deadline, it was that Price was the only Ray moved. UTL Ben Zobrist and UTL Sean Rodriguez also were mentioned in trade rumors. In fact, a fake Twitter account had Zobrist traded to the Pirates.
“That would have been, I think, a little more difficult because of the everyday component and the versatility component,” manager Joe Maddon said of Zobrist. “Had it been both of them, that might have been a little more difficult to deal with.”
That is one reason the Rays do not view Price’s trade as a fire sale.
“I feel like if they were doing that, there would be other pieces that they could trade in here if they were giving up on us,” Longoria said.
The other reason is that the Rays understand the economics of how things work for the team and that Price would be too expensive after his current contract that pays him $14 million for this season.
“David is a $20-million-per-year guy, just somebody that, I guess from an organizational standpoint, from what (executive VP of baseball operations Andrew Friedman) conveyed, we’re not going to be able to take that on next year,” Longoria said. “For it to benefit us the most in the near future, this is when it had to be done.”
Hanigan to play in Charlotte
C Ryan Hanigan (strained left oblique) is expected to begin his minor league rehab assignment when he DHs tonight with Class A Charlotte. Hanigan will not play Sunday, catch for the Stone Crabs on Monday, take Tuesday off and catch Wednesday for the GCL Rays.
If all goes well, Hanigan could rejoin the team Friday when they begin a three-game series in Chicago against the Cubs.
About that Zo trade
Zobrist said he was taking a nap Thursday afternoon when a fake Bob Nightengale Twitter account announced he had been traded to the Pirates. His wife, Julianna, was flying home from Los Angeles when she began receiving texts about the trade.
“I called my dad and said: ‘Hey, have you seen anything on TV? Because Jules is getting texts from friends,’ ” Zobrist said. “We were getting emails from people asking for tickets in Pittsburgh. She didn’t know if anything was true, and I was trying to find out if it was, so eventually I was like, ‘It’s not true. It’s a false report.’ ”
Welcome home, soldier
Army Sgt. Brett Farber of St. Petersburg returned home from a nine-month tour in Afghanistan and surprised his family before Friday’s game.
Sgt. Farber exited from the Chevy pickup that drives the Rays Team around the field before each game and hugged his mom, Julie, who was waiting to walk to the mound to throw out the first pitch. Sgt. Farber’s dad, John, brother, John Jr., and nephew, Jackson, also were on hand.
C Ryan Hanigan (left oblique strain) is close to beginning a minor-league rehab assignment. ... RF Wil Myers (right wrist fracture) took 15 swings in the batting cage before Friday’s game. ... LHP Drew Smyly, acquired from the Tigers in the Price trade, will report to the team today. He will wear No. 33, James Shields’ old number. ... The first 20,000 fans tonight will receive a Joe Maddon Mr. Potato Head. “It’s different. Any time my grand kids will be happy with a giveaway, I’m good with that,” Maddon said. “When this first came about in the offseason I was arguing for Gumby. This offseason I’m going to argue for Gumby again. I’m a Gumby guy.”