CHICAGO — Stuart Sternberg said he has one regret as owner of the Rays and it isn’t trading LHP David Price, though Sternberg said he’s digesting the move.
The regret dates to the 2010 season when the Rays did not pursue a bat before the season or at the trade deadline, something that came back to haunt the Rays when they lost to the Rangers in five game in the AL division series.
“It was clear we had a use for a bat at that point, and that will stick with me for as long as I have the team, because it also helps guide what we’re going to try to do going forward,” Sternberg said before Saturday’s game at Wrigley Field.
As for Price, Sternberg defended the trade that sent the 2012 Cy Young Award winner to Detroit in a three-team deal that netted the Rays LHP Drew Smyly and infield prospects Nick Franklin and Willy Adames.
“It’s still a work in progress because he’s been such a huge part of our success here, and I think a lot of things David has done here will stay with us a long time,” Sternberg said. “But it was David, it wasn’t three, four, five, eight guys, and I think people got that and understood that we’re still in it to win it, and it really was the classic one-eye-on-the-present, one-eye-on-the-future deal. It doesn’t make things easier today, but it’s never easy for us.”
Sternberg said the trade was difficult because it was made during the season, but it was just as difficult to trade James Shields after the 2012 season and let Carl Crawford leave as a free agent in 2010.
“It’s the only way. There is no alternative,” Sternberg said. “Having said that, we played it out with plenty of guys as well, and I expect that going forward we’ll play it out with plenty of guys and potentially with guys who are on the roster right now.”
Myers’ rehab assignment
RF Wil Myers, out since May 31 with a right wrist fracture, joined Triple-A Durham on Saturday to begin his 20-game minor-league rehab assignment.
Manager Joe Maddon said the first week is already mapped out for Myers with scheduled days off so as not to tax his wrist too early. Myers might need all 20 days before he’s ready to rejoin the Rays.
“I think he’s going to need some at-bats to really regain his rhythm,” Maddon said. “I would not want to thrust him back into this moment right now not feeling good about himself. Wil’s pretty honest about that. He’s not going to be macho and say he’s ready to go after five at-bats or 10 at-bats. I don’t anticipate that from him. We have a week mapped out. We’ll do that first and then we’ll adjust.”
Sternberg was overwhelmed by the amount of Rays fans he’s encountered at Wrigley Field and near the team hotel in downtown Chicago.
“It was shocking. Shocking is the only word,” he said. “It was heartwarming. Heartwarming.”
Sternberg also said it was amazing to see Rays fans stand and cheer as RHP Brad Boxberger got the final out of Friday’s win.
“It’s kind of interesting we’re getting folks to travel a little bit right now,” Maddon said. “You see a lot of Rays gear out there. It’s kind of neat, actually.”
Ben Zobrist is hitting .363 since June 28, tied for the third highest average in the AL during that time. ... Yunel Escobar’s first three-RBI game of the season came one year to the day from his previous three-RBI game. ... Sternberg also took ownership on the design of today’s light blue and gold turn-back-the-clock uniforms, which he said are a ripoff on the brown and yellow jerseys worn in the 1970s by the Padres. “As a teenager it spoke to me then and spoke to me now. If we could have put that chocolate brown in it, we would have done it as well,” Sternberg said. “Nice throwback colors for a team that never existed.”