SEATTLE — Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon said the team will make a decision before tonight's game in Anaheim on whether to place 2B Ben Zobrist on the disabled list with a dislocated left thumb or keep him on the roster if the medical staff thinks Zobrist could play in four or five days.
“I really don't know what they're going to do, but I would say it's going to take at least a week to two weeks to really start feeling like I can do what I normally do out there,” Zobrist said after Wednesday's 2-0 win against the Mariners.
Zobrist dislocated the thumb sliding head first into second base in the fourth inning. Since it is the top knuckle that is the issue, Maddon said there is the possibility Zobrist could swing the bat left-handed and be used as a pinch-hitter or designated hitter once the swelling and soreness subsides to manageable levels.
“Best-case scenario, it heals very quickly and I can get back on the field, I don't know, maybe within a week, but that's unlikely,” Zobrist said. “I think they're trying to decide right now whether if we need to go on the DL or not, so we'll see what decision is made and make sure it's fully healed before I get back out there. We don't want an unstable joint or anything like that going forward.”
Triple-A Durham INF Cole Figueroa was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the first inning Wednesday, and Adam Sobsey, who covers the Bulls, tweeted Figueroa received hugs and high-fives from his teammates, which normally indicates a player is headed to the big leagues.
Maddon said UTL Sean Rodriguez and UTL Logan Forsythe will share second base during this four-game series with the Angels. Figueroa, a left-handed hitter, will fill the left-handed hitting void created if Zobrist goes on the DL.
Choosing Aqua Velva Blue from the collection of cologne and aftershave Maddon brought to the clubhouse before the game, LHP David Price went out and pitched like it was 2012, which was his intent.
Throwing his fastball in the mid-90s and largely ignoring his cutter, Price pitched his second complete game of the season in a 2-1 victory made possibly when former Ray Fernando Rodney allowed two ninth-inning runs.
“I was a completely different pitcher on the mound with essentially everything,” Price said after the game. “Back to my old self.”
Price and RHP Chris Archer watched video of a complete game Price threw in September 2012 against the Red Sox. That game and Tuesday's game both ended with strikeouts on the same pitch — a 96-mph fastball away.
Price wore his pants legs high for the first time as a big-leaguer and borrowed Archer's socks. He then struck out 12 and didn't walk a batter.
Maddon said Price is capable of doing that every start, because he has great command of his fastball for someone who throws so hard.
So why doesn't he?
“It's like anything else, you're still learning. You're still learning what you do well and how do you do it. It's an evolution,” Maddon said. “He's still trying to figure himself out, and maybe taught himself a lesson last night. There are other things, little nuances within his game I don't want to get too specific about that showed up last night that I thought were good, and him and (pitching coach Jim Hickey) had been working on, so I think it's a combination of a lot of different things.”
Price has 70 strikeouts and only six walks this season for a major league-leading 11.67 strikeout-to-walk ratio. His six complete games since July 2, when he returned from the DL, are more than any other team.
Feel the heat
After playing some cold games in Baltimore and Chicago, the Rays will experience the other end of the thermometer when they reach Anaheim. Temps in Southern Cal are expected to reach 100 today.
“For a Canadian boy, I don't know about that,” tonight's starter Erik Bedard said.
The Rays allowed a season-low two hits and recorded their fourth shutout of the season. The Rays also had a season-low three hits. ... DH David DeJesus' nine-game hitting streak came to an end. … Tuesday's game was played in 2 hours, 48 minutes, snapping a streak of 14 Rays games that lasted more than 3 hours. Wednesday's game took 3:21. … LHP Enny Romero, summoned to Seattle from Triple-A Durham on Thursday in case Bedard's sore left pectoral muscle forced him to miss tonight's start, made it as far as Detroit before being told he wasn't needed.