Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon on Tuesday officially announced David Price as the Opening Day starter.
“It means a lot,” Price said. “To be the guy who takes the ball for the organization first and foremost is very special, and being at home, I’m throwing that first pitch for our season. If you’re on the road the opposing team gets to pitch first. It’s special to me to be able to run out on to our field first, lead our team out there, me and the Rays, it is very special.”
The Rays begin the season April 2 against the Orioles at Tropicana Field.
This will be the second time Price has started on Opening Day. He also did it in 2011.
Price said he intends to pitch on Opening Day many more times during his career.
“Absolutely. This is what you want to be at,” he said. “I don’t just want to be the best on a staff, I want to be the best in baseball. That’s what I strive to be year in and year out, and this is a starting point.”
Price won the American League Cy Young award last season after becoming the first 20-game winner in franchise history.
Maddon said he will announce the second, third and fourth starters later this spring.
Also, Maddon said the battle for the fifth spot between Roberto Hernandez and Jeff Niemann is not necessarily for the fifth starter. The winner could move up higher in the rotation.
Beginning Opening Day and running each time Price starts a home game, fans can purchase tickets to sections 132 and 134.
Those sections will be known as District K-9. Tickets in the section are $50 and come with a District K-9 T-shirt and “K”-card. Tickets can be purchased at www.raysbaseball.com/districtk9.
For information, go to raysbaseball.com/districtk9 or call 1-888-FAN-RAYS.