DETROIT — The first big trade of the summer did not involve LHP David Price, though Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reported the A’s pursued Price before working out a deal with the Cubs for RHP Jeff Samardzija and RHP Jason Hammel, a former Ray.
That means Price will face the Tigers tonight during the final game of this 11-game, three-city road trip that was crammed into 10 days.
Price will do it on national TV — on ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball” — against what he considers the best lineup he will face this season.
“You have to go out there and make pitches. You got to have plays made,” Price said. “A couple of hard-hit balls at guys would be much appreciated, as well.”
Price said the Tigers are more than just 1B Miguel Cabrera and DH Victor Martinez.
“The guys they have hitting in front of them and the guys they have hitting right behind them, there’s not an easy out in this lineup. They all make you work,” Price said. “When you have high-stress pitches against every hitter, even if you don’t have guys on base, it takes a little bit more out of you.”
Price, who leads the AL with 153 strikeouts, including 63 in his past six starts, again said that he is pitching better than he has at any point of his career, going all the way back to college.
“I feel like I am the most complete pitcher that I have ever been right now,” he said. “That’s cool. I definitely enjoy being able to say that. It’s tough to do. It’s an extremely hard game. These hitters are very good. To be able to go out there with the confidence that I have right now in all of my pitches in any count to any hitter, it makes you feel better on the mound.”
Escobar heads to Port Charlotte
SS Yunel Escobar (sore right shoulder) flew back to Tampa on Saturday and will begin his minor-league rehab assignment Monday.
Escobar is scheduled to play shortstop Monday with the GCL Rays, DH on Tuesday with Class A Charlotte, then play shortstop Wednesday for the Stone Crabs. He is scheduled to come off the disabled list on Thursday, which is an off day for the Rays. So, if everything goes well in Port Charlotte, Escobar will be activated Friday.
Helly decision today
The 30-day minor-league rehab assignment for RHP Jeremy Hellickson (right elbow surgery) ends today, meaning the Rays have to activate him or reassign him to Triple-A Durham, which they can do because Hellickson has an option remaining.
The decision is expected to be made after tonight’s game, and it’s likely he will rejoin the rotation, replacing LHP Erik Bedard.
Forsythe adding spark
2B Logan Forsythe continued to spark the offense Saturday. He broke up RHP Anibal Sanchez’s no-hitter in the fifth inning with a home run and drove in another run in the sixth with a bunt.
Forsythe, whose playing time increased when Escobar went on the disabled list, has nine multi-hit games in his past 14 games. He’s also homered three times and driven in eight runs in his past seven games.
“You’re seeing the baseball player, too,” manager Joe Maddon said, noting how well Forsythe has played in defense.
RF Kevin Kiermaier became the sixth player in team history to record two triples in one game.
His first was to right field in the fifth inning and scored C Ryan Hanigan. His second, a two-run triple to left field, came an inning later.
Kiermaier nearly caught Hanigan between second and third base on his first triple and nearly fell rounding second on his second three-bagger.
“My second one I got a little too excited,” he said. “I always come around second base weird because I see where the ball’s at and try to hit the base at the same time. It was not very graceful, but I was able to get to third base safe and sound.”
RHP Jake Odorizzi, Monday’s starter, will play catch with bullpen catcher Scott Cursi this morning at the park across the street from the team hotel before flying back to Tampa in the afternoon. ... Tonight will be the Rays’ ninth appearance on ESPN’s “Sunday Night baseball.” They are 2-6. ... The Rays are 16-10 since Seminole Indian medicine man Bobby Henry visited Tropicana Field on June 9. Henry is expected to make another visit Monday.