David Price Admits Cy Young Post Season Commitments Affected 2013 Preparation
Price admits that this may not have been the case last spring when he just seemed to be lagging behind his normal self. Despite a 2-0 record and 2.12 ERA in spring training of 2013 the opposition had a .294 average against him and this hit-ability bled over into the regular season as he seemed that he was just feeling his way through his early starts.
Over his first nine starts he posted a 1-4 record with a 5.24 ERA. Over his first 55 innings of work he allowed eight home runs and the opposition posted a triple slash line against him of .294/.340/.471.
The early season frustration on the mound was magnified when he and umpire Tom Hallion got into an altercation. After an inning ended in which there was a disputed ball/strike call Price was visibly upset walking off the mound and he said Hallion told him, ““throw the ball over the F***** plate.” That statement got the Rays bench in an uproar and led to the ejection of mild mannered Jeremy Hellickson. After the game Price said of Hallion’s actions, “If my own dad doesn’t speak to me that way, some frickin’ umpire’s not going to speak to me that way.” (Story Link Here)
After that episode was behind him he had to battle a much bigger problem as his left triceps tightened up on him during his start against the Boston Red Sox on May 15th. He landed on the disabled list and miss 47 days and 44 games.
When he returned he resembled the David Price of old albeit with slightly less velocity but improved control. He made 18 starts (including Game 163 in Texas) and posted a record of 9-4 with a 2.53 ERA (37 ER/131.2 IP) allowing only 113 hits.
The one part of his game that impressed more so after his return from injury than at any point in his career was his impeccable control. After returning from injury he struck out 102 batters while only issuing 13 walks.
His overall numbers included leading the American League in complete games with 4, fewest walks per nine innings (1.3 BB/9), and the highest strikeout to walk ratio (5.59).
This spring he has opened up about some of the issues that may have plagued him last year. He was on Sirius MLB Network Radio and said that after winning the Cy Young Award he had many obligations to fulfill. “I went out to L.A. four times on four separate trips,” Price said. “Twice in one week to make sure we got everything done right and this was three or four days before spring training began.”
He admits that he had heard from various people of what was expected when you win an award like that. “I didn’t really understand, I didn’t believe them but going through it is definitely tough.”
As for those before him who won a Cy Young and came back strong? “It really speaks volumes about what [Justin] Verlander was able to do in 2012 the year I was able to win the year after he won and the great year that he put up that year.”
Price says it’s important to have stuff prepared and know where your going and get into a facility when you’re there. Price joked that maybe he just wasn’t as well connected as Verlander to get all that stuff done.
Over the winter he was able to work out with a group of players comprised of former Vanderbilt guys, Southeastern Conference players, and a few players from other organizations. Going off the teaching of his old Commodores Coach Tim Corbin Price says “everybody is welcome.”
The only unsettling situation he had to deal with this spring was whether or not he would be wearing a Rays uniform in 2014 or if he’d be traded over the winter. In terms of preparation he made it clear that he was working hard to pitch wherever that may be.
This spring David Price has his mind clear, his arm healthy, and his body in prime physical condition and is ready to take his place at the top of the Rays rotation as they attempt to win the AL East and bring a World Championship to the City of St. Petersburg and the Tampa Bay area.