PORT CHARLOTTE — Tampa Bay Rays LHP David Price took a moment before Sunday’s start against the visiting Red Sox to tell pitching coach Jim Hickey how he was feeling.
“I felt good,” Price said. “I told Hickey I wish today was Opening Day.”
Price pitched as if he was in midseason form when he held the Red Sox to three hits and struck out seven in 62⁄3 innings in the Rays’ 8-4 victory. The only runs he allowed scored after he left the game.
Price’s fastball hit 95 mph during the early innings, and his cutter showed as much break as his slider, according to manager Joe Maddon.
If Price had any glitches in his game that still need work, he said it was this: “More consistency, I feel like. Keeping your mind frame in the right position when you’re out there. Sitting on the bench, your mind wanders. When you get between the lines you got to flip it back.”
Price became the first Rays starter to pitch into the seventh inning. He threw 91 pitches, 61 for strikes.
“With the way David pitched, it was kind of boring,” said Logan Forsythe, who made his first start in left field. “He did really well, and it was fun to watch.”
RF Wil Myers, who suffered a bruised quadriceps after fouling a ball off it Saturday, said the injury turned out to be minor.
“Woke up (Sunday) morning and it was a lot better than I thought it would be,” Myers said.
He expects to return to the lineup Tuesday night, when the Rays travel to Fort Myers to play the Twins in their first night game of the spring.
“He’s fine,” Maddon said. “There’s not a thing wrong. He’s ready to roll.”
Myers said it is not unusual for him to foul a ball off the back of his right leg, even though that is his back leg while hitting. He’s fouled a ball off the back of his right foot and the back of his right knee.
“It’s kind of an odd thing,” he said. “What can I say?”
With Opening Day two weeks from today, Maddon admitted Sunday there might not be enough time for RHP Juan Carlos Oviedo to get ready for the regular season.
“It’s probably a long shot, let me put it that way, to be actually ready,” Maddon said, “but I’m not saying that he can’t.”
Oviedo reported to camp Saturday after missing the first four weeks of spring training because of visa issues in his native Dominican Republic. He threw a bullpen session Saturday, and it went well, Maddon said. He is expected to throw live batting practice either Tuesday or Wednesday and pitch in a game by the end of the week.
Maddon said because Oviedo is coming back from reconstructive elbow surgery, head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield is concerned with the post-throwing treatment Oviedo received while working out this month in the Dominican.
Forsythe’s immediate impact
Forsythe played left field Sunday for the first time this spring as part of the Rays’ quest to turn the infielder into a super-utility fielder. Naturally, the first ball hit his way was a screaming line drive into a tough wind. Forsythe responded with a diving catch.
“We all talked about it early in spring, and they’re keeping their promise,” Forsythe said. “It’s good for me, it’s good for the team. I need to be comfortable before we break. So far, so good.”
RHP Alex Cobb will pitch a simulated game this morning instead of traveling to Fort Myers to pitch in a minor-league game because of the threat of rain. ... RHP Chris Archer will pitch a minor-league game Wednesday instead of pitching against the Orioles. ... 1B James Loney had five RBIs in Sunday’s win. His three hits raised his spring average to .409. ... OF David DeJesus had two hits and raised his spring average to .556. ... UTL Sean Rodriguez (tight left hamstring) is expected to play Tuesday night.