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Rays notes: Price insists he's fine

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Published:   |   Updated: April 23, 2013 at 02:44 PM
ST. PETERSBURG -

LHP David Price said he's fine, there are no health issues with his pitching arm or any other part of his body. He said the slow start to his season is just that, a slow start.

“I feel good,” Price said. “I don't feel like I've hit that stride yet. And once I do I have to hang on to it. Once I have that game or that moment and get that feeling going through my body, that's what makes the difference.”

Price is hoping he finds that stride tonight when he faces the Yankees in the second game of this three-game series.

As it stands, the 2012 American League Cy Young Award winner is the only member of the Rays rotation without a victory. He's 0-1 with a 6.26 ERA in four starts.

Right-handers, who have hit .239 against Price during his career, are hitting .338 against him this season. Also, opposing batters are hitting .429 with three walks and four home runs with two outs.

Price's velocity is down, but both he and manager Joe Maddon said that's common for Price at this time of the season.

“I have no concerns about David whatsoever,” Maddon said. “He's going to get extremely hot and just role with it. That's just the way it's going to be. He has not pitched at the top of his game yet. The velocity has been down just a click, but there's been other good things.”

Maddon said Price's curveball and change-up worked well for him during his first four starts.

Price said after his last start in Baltimore, a game in which he blew three leads for the first time in his career, that he is frustrated. He said Monday he's still frustrated with his start to the season.

“It is, absolutely, because this is something I don't want to just be good at. I play this game to be great. That's the way I've always been,” he said. “But I've struggled before. I've struggled at every level I've ever been in in baseball. It's part of it. The ones that can get through those struggles and not let it linger on for months at a time are the ones who can get through these struggles and still have extremely good years.”

Scott headingto Charlotte DH Luke Scott (right calf strain) is scheduled to begin his rehab assignment tonight with Class A Charlotte. He will take Wednesday off and, if his calf comes through his four scheduled at-bats tonight without any issues, he will resume playing Thursday.

Scott, who hasn't played a game since March 23, expects to rejoin the Rays on the upcoming road trip.

“If I have to hitchhike to get there, so be it,” he said.

Maddon thinks Scott can return as soon as May 1 when the team is in Kansas City.

“Without any setbacks, of course, that should be a reasonable schedule,” Maddon said.

Escobar's secret At the suggestion of Maddon, SS Yunel Escobar switched to a heavier bat, a move that led to his resurgence at the plate.

Maddon said he saw Escobar hit too many balls off the end of his bat.

“I just suggested a bigger, longer, heavier bat,” Maddon said. “Thinking the logic through that, he has a little more coverage with the end of the bat, and a little bit heavier forces you to use your hands more and not your arms. That's it, and he's responded pretty well.”

Escobar hit a two-run homer in the first inning Monday off Yankees LHP CC Sabathia. It was his second homer in two games and seventh hit in his past six games.

Noteworthy Shortstop prospect Hak-Ju Lee, who tore ligaments in his left knee Saturday, returned to Port Charlotte on Monday. He will be examined by team doctor Koco Eaton and is expected to have season-ending surgery. … The Rays participated in bunt defense drills prior to Monday's game in preparation for their three-game series in Colorado (May 3-5). As a result, Maddon did not schedule any pregame entertainment for the team but said he has something lined up for Wednesday. … New Bucs cornerback Darrelle Revis threw out a first pitch Monday, but the biggest hand was saved for triple-amputee Sgt. Michael Nicholson, who followed Revis to the mound and also threw out a first pitch. Nicholson, of South Tampa, lost both legs and his right arm in 2011 while serving in Afghanistan. … Heather and John Warwick of New Port Richey introduced their 5-month old son, Maddon, to Joe Maddon before the game. The couple named their son after Maddon.

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