MINNEAPOLIS — LHP David Price has been the workhorse of the pitching staff with a team-high and league-high 1472⁄3 innings. He has pitched at least eight innings in seven of his past 10 starts.
Those numbers are the reason RHP Alex Cobb started Friday when the Rays resumed their schedule against the Twins at Target Field.
“It would be to give David an extra day (of rest),” manager Joe Maddon said. “David's had the workload, man, whereas Cobb has not, and you know Cobb can handle it, so let's get him going first and just play it from there.”
Maddon said pitching Price tonight was not an attempt at having him miss facing the Cardinals on Wednesday in St. Louis. The Cardinals are one of a number of teams believed to have an interest in trading for Price.
“That wasn't it,” Maddon said.
Of course, Price doesn't have a problem with the workload. In fact, he wants to pitch more, if that's possible, no matter what the score is during the late innings.
“I'd rather not give up any runs, but if I give up three or four or even five I still want to be out there pitching in that eighth inning,” Price said.
“If I have to take the loss, so be it. I still want to try and give everybody in that bullpen a day off. I don't want to go out there and have a bad start. I don't want it to affect our bullpen for a couple of days.”
The last time C Ryan Hanigan was on the disabled list, the Rays went 1-12.
Hanigan, who was placed on the DL on Thursday with a left oblique strain, could miss the next two to three weeks. Maddon said the team is better prepared to withstand his absence this time around.
“We were kind of in a general malaise at that particular time,” Maddon said. “Nothing was going on. There was no offense going on at that time. At that point, he had been pretty much a big part of the offense. I think things have improved to the point where we could more readily absorb his loss right now.”
RHP Jeremy Hellickson will pitch Sunday for Class-A Charlotte at Clearwater. He could rejoin the Rays rotation when they face the Red Sox at Tropicana Field during the next homestand.
If he stayed on schedule, Hellickson would start the opener of the three-game series.
“That's logical, but we're not ready to say that yet,” Maddon said.
C Curt Casali, promoted from Triple-A Durham to replace Hanigan, made his major-league debut Friday and singled in his first at-bat.
“It's been a crazy year, to say the least,” Caslia said. “Everything has come together like I had hoped it would. I'm just trying to show these guys what I can do and thank them for the opportunity.”
Casali, who was in camp this spring with the Rays, began the year at Double-A. He was promoted to Durham on May 5. Acquired from the Tigers in a trade on May 25, 2013, Casali began last season at Charlotte, meaning he has played at four levels in the past 15 months.
“It's incredible,” Casali said.
The Rays now have two Vanderbilt products on the team — Price and Casali.
“Vanderbilt guys, we're brought up the right way,” Price said, “so I don't have any doubts about him.”
Durham manager Charlie Montoyo informed Casali on Thursday, during the Bulls' pregame stretch at Gwinnett, that he was going to the big leagues. That's when Montoyo gave Casali back his cell phone.
It seems Rays assistant hitting coach Jamie Nelson had sent Casali a congratulatory text before Montoyo could deliver the news. So when Casali returned to the clubhouse after early hitting he couldn't find his phone.
“Nellie almost blew it,” Casali said.
Late show with Price
Price enjoyed taping a segment with Todd the Intern for the “Late Show with David Letterman” earlier in the week at the Mall of America. The clip aired Thursday.
Price competed in carnival games, rode the roller coaster and the carousel and shared a milkshake with two straws.
“That's the best thing I've done for TV,” Price said.
RF Wil Myers did some light throwing with a tennis ball and took some swings with a Speed Hitter (sponsored by hitting coach Derek Shelton) on Friday. … Montoyo earned his 613th career win Friday for Durham, tying him with Bill Evers for the most wins by a manager in Bulls history. … Casali is the 11th rookie to play for the Rays this season. They used nine rookies during 2013.