David Price has been on the disabled list since May 16th with a strained triceps muscle in his left arm. The plan is to get him back for the Detroit Tigers series June 28 through 30th and in order to meet that target date he’ll have to complete 2 maybe 3 rehabilitation starts.
There are hurdles to clear prior to beginning a rehabilitation assignment and last night Price cleared a big one by throwing a 3-inning simulated game. He threw a total of 54 pitches to Sean Rodriguez, Ryan Roberts, and Sam Fuld.
A simulated game includes warming up in the bullpen as a pitcher would prior to a game, waiting several minutes before taking the mound, and facing live hitters. After a certain number of pitches the pitcher stops throwing as if his team were coming to bat, and then returns to the mound a set time later to resume his next inning of work.
The value of the simulated game is not in the number of pitches thrown as discussed by David Price:
“You sit in the dugout, and it will obviously be longer than what I was doing today, but you are out there pitching for however many minutes, then you go sit down and your body tries to cool off a little bit, so you want to get up and down as many times as possible because I think that’s one of the biggest things that cause injuries.” – tbo.com
After the effort Price, “I felt very strong and the arm felt good. It was nice to see somebody standing in the box, so it was a good day overall.”
The plan for now is to have him take today off and throw a bullpen session on Saturday and if there are no setbacks probably begin his rehabilitation assignment in the early part of next week. The where he pitches has yet to be determined (Port Charlotte, Montgomery, Durham).
The normally overly cautious Joe Maddon was excited by Price’s overall work saying that “he looked like he could have pitched in an actual game” and that “he’s exceeding expectations a little bit.”
The sooner Price returns to the Rays rotation the better. He’s missed 5 starts since going on the disabled list on May 16th. Chris Archer and Jake Odorizzi have both struggled in their attempts to give the Rays quality innings. In their five starts the duo of Archer and Odorizzi has combined to throw just 24 innings allowing 26 hits, 17R/ER, 4 home runs, striking out 21 and walking 11. The Rays record in those 5 starts is 2-3.