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In high demand, Price faces the unknown

ST. PETERSBURG -- The non-waiver Trade Deadline is fast approaching, but for David Price -- this year's biggest prize -- it was business as usual on Tuesday.

Some believe the Rays will trade Price to acquire pieces for the future, while others believe the team will keep its ace in the hopes it can ride his left arm to a postseason berth.

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Heading into Thursday's Deadline at 4 p.m. ET, Price's pitching has been nothing short of incredible.

On Friday night against the Red Sox, Price won his career-high sixth consecutive start, working eight innings for the eighth time in his past nine starts. In his past 11 starts, he is 7-3 with a 1.88 ERA and 99 strikeouts after starting the season with a 4.42 ERA in his first 11 starts.

Price is scheduled to start the Rays' Wednesday matinee against the Brewers at 12:10 p.m., a day before the Deadline.

Just like the day before any other start, Price met with reporters at his locker on Tuesday. Obviously, the topic of a possible trade loomed large.

Price said he was looking forward to some resolution for his situation.

"I guess we'll have some answers in the next couple of days and see how it goes," Price said. "Just kind of have to wait and see."

Price seemed calm, maintaining that he is not any more eager or antsy to get his situation settled.

"No, not really," Price said. "I'll just continue to be the same person on the field every day. This is what I love to do. I'm not going to let this stuff get me down. That's no fun. Just go out here and work hard. Try and give myself a chance to win every fifth day. And hopefully, it's in a Rays uniform in two starts."

Price believes the team's solid play of late has impacted management's desire to trade him.

"We were 18 games under .500 and 15 games out of first place," Price said. "We cut that in half. We're close to .500 baseball right now. It's definitely impacted what we've been doing. ... If we win today, see what happens."

The past several days, rumors of Price being traded have seemed to lose some steam in favor of the rumors of Red Sox ace Jon Lester being traded. A reporter asked Price if he wanted to thank Lester for seemingly taking the trade spotlight.

"It's not him, you have to thank the Red Sox," Price said. "If they weren't in [the position they are in], they wouldn't be looking to trade Jon Lester. I have to thank my teammates, honestly. We're playing a lot better baseball."

Entering Tuesday night's game, the Rays had won 10 of their past 11 games since July 12, which is the best record in baseball over that period. Price called the team's turnaround "fun."

"It's always fun to go on runs like we have," Price said. "We've been playing very good baseball. And we've had that feeling in the locker room like we're going to win every single baseball game. And it's just a lot more enjoyable."

Less than 48 hours remain before Price will have some resolution. Will he remain a Ray or won't he? Stay tuned.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for

Tampa Bay Rays, David Price