Price has no issues with how he's been utilized
Blue Jays' ace clears the air on eve of Game 6 start
KANSAS CITY -- David Price wanted to make sure he did not send any mixed signals on Thursday. Both through social media and in a news conference at Kauffman Stadium, the ace of the Blue Jays' rotation made it clear that he has taken no issue with how Toronto has handled him this month.
"I'm not upset with how things have transpired throughout the playoffs," said Price, who is scheduled to start against the Royals on Friday in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series (7 p.m. ET airtime on FOX Sports 1 and Sportsnet, with game time slated for 8 p.m.).
Following Toronto's 7-1 win over Kansas City on Wednesday -- a victory that trimmed the Royals' lead to 3-2 in this best-of-seven series -- Price held court with reporters at his locker in the Blue Jays' clubhouse at Rogers Centre. During the game, the lefty had warmed up in the bullpen, preparing to potentially pitch in the seventh inning, and his replies to questions about the situation seemed short and tepid.
Given Price's status as one of the game's elite starters, and coupled with the fact that he is on the cusp of a potential blockbuster payday through free agency this coming offseason, the Blue Jays have taken some public criticism for how the lefty has been handled.
Manager John Gibbons said Thursday that Price has not fought the team on the issue.
"No complaints that I'm aware of, and he's ready to go," Gibbons said. "The situation the last few games, there was a chance he'd come out of the bullpen. He's all for that. No complaints."
Price wrote on his Twitter page (@DAVIDprice14) that he "never said I was mad or upset about anything that's gone on" over the past two weeks.
After Toronto clinched a spot in the playoffs, Price rested during the last week of the regular season. His final start fell on Sept. 26, creating an 11-day rest period before his Game 1 start against the Rangers in the AL Division Series on Oct. 8. Gibbons then used the lefty for three innings and 50 pitches out of the bullpen in Game 4 of the ALDS on Oct. 12, taking Price out of the mix for Game 5 in that series.
Price came back and started Game 2 of the ALCS on Saturday in Kansas City, breezing through six innings before allowing five runs in the seventh and exiting with only two outs in the frame. Price then had four days of rest prior to warming up in the bullpen in Game 5 on Wednesday.
Lefty Brett Cecil was lost to a calf injury in the ALDS and left-hander Aaron Loup, while back with the team now, has missed time in both the ALDS and ALCS to tend to a family situation. Under the circumstances, Price said he understands why Toronto has picked times to potentially use him in relief.
"We don't have a lefty in the 'pen," Price said. "I understand that. I get it. And at this point in the season, you've got to be ready for whatever. I mean, if I would've gotten in that game [Wednesday], I'm sure [Marcus] Stroman might've pitched Game 6, and I'd be ready for Game 7. I didn't see it to be a big deal.
"[Game 4 in] Texas might've been a little bit weird, but we've definitely moved past that. There's good communication. They definitely keep me in the loop with what could happen, the type of situation that I could be [entering] in the game, and I'm open for that."
Gibbons reiterated that Price was willing to work in relief, if needed.
"We didn't have to sell it to him one bit," Gibbons said. "Actually, he came and said, 'I can pitch out of the 'pen [in Game 5].' It wasn't like we were holding a gun to his head. He was for it. ... Dave's the ultimate team guy. He's here to win. That's what drives him."