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Friday, Jul 25, 2014
Rays

Rays’ Price apologizes for Twitter rant after Game 2 loss

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ST. PETERSBURG — David Price’s frustrations seemingly boiled over Sunday. After stewing over David Ortiz standing at home plate, watching the second of his Game 2 home runs, Price engaged in a Twitter war with TBS analysts and fans, when he fired back at criticism, then felt compelled to point out his accomplishments and awards.

By mid-afternoon, as the Rays and Boston Red Sox worked out at Tropicana Field in preparation for tonight’s Game 3 of the American League division series, most of the firestorm had been diffused.

Price issued a 140-character mea culpa on Twitter, writing “I apologize for the things that I said on here…if I offended you I am very sorry for doing so.’’

Meanwhile, Ortiz said he and Price talked to clear the air.

“It’s over,’’ Ortiz said. “I have a lot of respect for David and he has the same for me. I’m not going to make a big deal out of this. I understand his frustration. He’s a good pitcher. Sometimes, it gets frustrating. We talked. It doesn’t matter (who reached out to whom). We talked.’’

Price seethed Saturday night when Ortiz stood at the plate, watching his eighth-inning homer sail down the right-field line. It was the last pitch Price threw in Tampa Bay’s 7-4 defeat at Fenway Park.

“He steps in the bucket and hits a homer,’’ Price said Saturday night. “Then he stares at it to see if it’s fair or foul. I’m sure that’s what he would say. As soon as he hit it and I saw it, I knew it was fair. Run.’’

TBS analysts Dirk Hayhurst, a former major-league pitcher who went to spring training with the Rays in 2011, and Tom Verducci, a Sports Illustrated senior writer, talked about Price’s approach to Ortiz and whether the Rays should’ve gone to the bullpen. And that talk apparently irritated Price.

“Dirk Hayhurst…COULDN’T hack it…Tom Verducci wasn’t even a water boy in high school…but yet they can still bash a player…SAVE IT NERDS,’’ Price tweeted, igniting several hours worth of reaction.

Rays third baseman Evan Longoria said he was aware of the Twitter activity, but didn’t want to speak for Price, who was unavailable and not at Sunday’s workout.

“I wasn’t with David and I don’t know what he’s thinking,’’ Longoria said.

Meanwhile, Rays manager Joe Maddon described it as a teachable moment.

“In the real world, in the bigger picture, it really doesn’t mean a whole lot,’’ said Maddon, who added he doesn’t want to legislate his players’ freedom of expression. “But I think on a personal level, the fact that he did something wrong, even more importantly that he corrected it, I think is even more important.

“I don’t want to take one isolated incident and try to turn it into something. I think that’s something we do nationally a little bit too often. I think David did the right thing after he had done the wrong thing. And I believe in the future you’re going to see better judgment.’’

Maddon said he wasn’t troubled by Ortiz’s homer-observing pose at the plate.

“There have been times when teams accused us of doing the same thing after a home run,’’ Maddon said. “I know pitchers can be definitely put off by that particular moment. And I’ve never been a major-league pitcher, so I don’t know how that feels.

“I don’t know if they’re feeling like they’re showing them up or not and you’re not going to see it again. Whether it’s a physical mistake, a mental mistake we make in the game or away from the game, hopefully we learn from these things.’’

Rays rookie outfielder Wil Myers has been criticized for his bat flips after hitting homers. Rays rookie pitcher Chris Archer incited a reaction June 12 when he struck out Boston’s Daniel Nava with the bases loaded, then pumped his fists and hopped off the mound.

Archer said he believes there’s a “double standard’’ with emotional reactions from batters and pitchers.

“If a pitcher does anything, shows any type of excitement, then it’s immediately a negative thing,’’ Archer said. “If I struck somebody out and watched it, looked at the catcher and stood there or put my hands up on the mound, that would be a bad look.

“But if somebody gets a big hit or whatever, if they stand there and look at it, they’re like praised for it. ‘Oh man, he pimped that so well’ or ‘He made that look so good.’ If there wasn’t a double standard, then it would be completely fine. But you can’t just let hitters do what they want to do and then have pitchers not be able to do something equal.’’

jjohnston@tampatrib.com

(813) 259-7353

Twitter: @JJohnstonTBO

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