Hearing that David Price was placed on the disabled list had to be a nightmare for any Tampa Bay Rays fan, but on Thursday, that pain will begin to ease as Price makes his return… in a simulated game.
Price was previously in line to pitch his first simulated outing on Saturday, but Joe Maddon reportedly thought that Price threw “so well” that he was able to move the timeline up a bit. Most reports have Price on track to return later in the month, but the Rays could really use the 2012 Cy Young Award winner sooner rather than later.
Despite a 34-29 record, the Rays are in 4th place, and they’ve uncharacteristically allowed the 6th-most runs in the American League with 288 this season. Price struggled mightily (by his standards) before hitting the DL on May 16th (5.24 ERA), but his strikeout rate (8.02 K per 9) and walk rate (2.29 BB per 9) were in line with his baseline career numbers. On top of that, his FIP (fielding-independent pitching) was over a full run below his bloated ERA, and there is very little reason to doubt Price if he is 100% healthy.
To make matters worse for Tampa Bay, they placed starter Alex Cobb on the bereavement list on Tuesday, and the Rays need Price more than ever. The balance between hurrying him back to action and being responsible with their #1 asset will be interesting, but if Price can return by the beginning of July with the Rays still in the pennant race, they’ll be in fantastic position to succeed.