Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher David Price throws a pitch in the fourth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Tropicana Field, 5/5/11.
Bradenton- FL It was the move Rays' fans have been anticipating since May 16, when Cy Young award winner David Price went on the 15-day disabled list with a triceps injury. Tonight he returned to the mound, a lot later and in a different ball park than they expected. After 37 days since his last pitching performance Price stepped on to the rubber at McKechnie Field in Bradenton for the Rays' class A Charlotte Stone Crabs making his first rehab start.
"I wasn't nervous for the way I would feel, but I was nervous though," said Price. "It felt like your first spring training outing or the first game of the year, or pitching in the post-season with those jitters."
Those early jitters showed, after Price struck out his first batter, he walked the next two hitters before retiring the side with back-to-back strike outs.
At times the Rays' ace was overpowering, dialing his fastball up to 94 MPH, but he didn't show as much velocity as he has when wearing a Tampa Bay uniform.
"I felt fine it's just that I'll have added adrenaline when I get to that grand stage but I felt good with what I had today," said Price.
The lefthander threw 49 pitches, 25 for strikes and surrendered one earned run on two hits in 2.1 innings pitched.
"It's not so much the pitch count, it's the sitting down and getting back up is what we were focused on today," said Price.
If Price feels healthy following tonight's action, he's likely to make his next start on Wednesday. It could come once again with the Stone Crabs at Charlotte Sports Park when they host Bradenton, which would give the Marauders their second look at him.
Price is expected to make at least one more start prior to returning to the Rays, which puts him on pace for an early July return to the major league mound.