ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays pitchers David Price and Chris Archer responded to David Ortiz's postgame comments about Archer from Sunday's 3-2 loss to the Red Sox -- which were themselves in response to Archer's own postgame interview -- on Monday afternoon.
Archer didn't like how Ortiz had flipped his bat and taken his time rounding the bases after a third-inning three-run homer, calling the celebration a perfect example of what Price said earlier in the season -- that Ortiz sometimes acts "bigger than the game of baseball."
When Ortiz heard what Archer said, he retorted that Archer was "not the right guy to be saying that," adding that, "I don't think, you know, you got two days in the league, you can't be just [whining] and complaining about [things] like that."
In the clubhouse before Monday's series opener against the Brewers, Price and Archer spoke about Archer's and Ortiz's comments.
"[Archer] said what he needed to say," Price said. "He handled it extremely well -- I wish I would have handled it that well.
"Everybody sees the same thing. Like Archer said, him and Big Papi's conversations have been great. Same with me. Whenever you have conversations the way that [Ortiz] has them with people, you think he has respect for you. Doesn't look that way.
"That's how he is, though. If anything ever happens, he wants to be on everybody's good side. That's why he does what he does -- and everybody knows that. We're not worried about that."
He added that Archer had the full backing of his teammates -- and more.
"Not just in here -- that's around baseball. I'm sure he's got texts," Price said.
Archer stood by his comments from Sunday night.
"Do I regret saying the truth?" Archer said rhetorically. "I heard what he said, and my immediate thought was, you're never too youthful to tell the truth or say things how you see them. 'Agitated' is not the right word; 'angry' is not the right word. He pimped a home run off me."
Ortiz had said after the game that Archer has acted similarly on the mound, jumping after strikeouts and once kissing his biceps after striking out Boston's Daniel Nava in 2012. Archer spoke about that as well.
"I mean, I've gotten excited before, and they blow that out of proportion, too, saying that I kissed my bicep," Archer said. "Man, but honestly, I was in the infant stages of my career there -- that was literally, like, my fifth start of my career. People say, 'You should act like you've been there before.' At that time in my career, I had never been there.
"I think we all know that's how he plays the game. I don't take back what I said, but what I said was true. I never saw Hank Aaron flip his bat -- I'm not comparing the two, but they're obviously in the same class of player as far as what they've accomplished. But I guess different people have different ways of reacting, and that's just who he is, how he plays the game. I'm not mad, just speaking the truth.
"It's just a game, man. All this is completely blown out of proportion. I just said the truth, man. You can ask anybody. If they're gonna be honest, they're gonna tell you how they feel. If they want to say the politically correct thing, they may not say exactly how they feel."
At that point, coverage of Sunday's incident popped up on the clubhouse televisions.
"I'm [upset] -- look how [upset] I am!" Archer joked, gesturing toward the TV screens. "Look how agitated I am!
"Let's celebrate my third day in the big leagues, though," he cracked. "Let's celebrate that."
David Adler is an associate reporter for MLB.com.