Ace exits in third inning with left triceps tightness, will be re-evaluated Thursday
ST. PETERSBURG -- David Price left Wednesday night's 9-2 loss to the Red Sox after 57 pitches with a left triceps strain, but the Rays won't know until Thursday the extent of the injury or how long it will sideline the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner.
Price said the MRI results turned out to be "as good as it could have been," but the real test will be how he feels Thursday. The southpaw wouldn't rule out the idea of making his next start, scheduled for Monday, but manager Joe Maddon said that is "probably unlikely."
"This is something I take pride in, being available every fifth day and being out there for my team," Price said. "I don't know how that's looking right now, but I'll just get re-evaluated tomorrow."
Price had just surrendered a one-out RBI single to David Ortiz that gave the Red Sox a 2-0 lead when he called to the dugout. He felt an unusual tightness in his triceps after four or five fastballs in the third inning -- not "excruciating pain," but definitely something he'd never felt on the mound.
Maddon and head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield met Price on the mound and talked for a few minutes, and Maddon said he could tell by looking at Price that he didn't want to throw another pitch. The left-hander didn't even throw a warmup toss, walked off the field and underwent an MRI.
Price said after the game he felt "OK" and didn't think the injury would be too serious, but the tightness was uncommon and concerning enough for him to take himself out of the game.
"It was something I've got to take care of. I can't just go out there, because I'm not just putting my neck on the line. I'm a part of this team," Price said. "I want to be there in August and September and October when we're playing in the playoffs. ... I wouldn't do it if I didn't think it was something that was serious."
Price said he hadn't felt any previous soreness or tightness in the area. He first noticed something was wrong when he faced Stephen Drew to lead off the third inning. Price didn't show any serious signs of injury, however, as his last pitch to Ortiz was a 95-mph fastball.
"The gun was reading the right numbers," Maddon said. "He looked sharp. I thought he had really, really good stuff tonight. I was kind of eager to watch the whole thing."
Maddon said the Rays will know more Thursday, when Price hopes to come in and play catch after undergoing more tests. If Price is going to be out long enough to warrant a trip to the disabled list, Tampa Bay could plug in either Chris Archer or Jake Odorizzi to start Monday -- and it's at least worth noting that Odorizzi also started Wednesday night for Triple-A Durham. In the meantime, the Rays could possibly call up another reliever to fill out their roster and help ease the workload on their bullpen, which picked up 6 2/3 innings after Price's early exit Wednesday.
Maddon repeated several times that Price's MRI results were essentially good news and that the injury doesn't appear to be too serious, but the Rays won't know for sure until Thursday, at the earliest.
"It looks like it's not awful, so wait 'til tomorrow, really check it out again tomorrow then make a call at that particular moment," Maddon said. "I'm not getting really a bad vibe from anybody about the whole thing. It shouldn't be anything awful, but we want to be cautious and make a better read, hopefully by tomorrow."