LHP David Price walked off the field Monday after throwing another bullpen session yelling, “The best I felt all year.”
He yelled it several times just so there wouldn't be any misunderstanding.
“My arm felt as good as it's felt all year, so it was a very good step,” Price said after throwing 45 pitches.
Price, on the disabled list since May 16 with a left triceps strain, took another step toward returning to the team by throwing the second of three scheduled bullpen sessions. He will throw another one Wednesday before advancing to a simulated game Saturday. After that Price will make three minor-league rehab starts.
That schedule has Price on target to return either the last week in June or the first week in July.
“Can't get here quick enough,” Price said.
Price, who threw all his pitches Monday, said his arm feels better than it has any point this year, including spring training.
While he maintained the triceps injury developed in his last start, he did admit that he been pitching through some aches and pains during his nine starts this season.
“I didn't feel bad. I just didn't feel normal, I guess,” he said. “Nobody goes out there every five days and feels 100 percent. There's always something that you feel, whether it be in your arms or your legs or just somewhere in your body, your lower back or something like that.
“It's a grind. It's a long season. You're going to have stuff flare up from time to time. Guys kind of have to know when they're capable of pitching with the injuries that they feel. I feel really good right now.
“I didn't feel bad earlier in the year. I just feel a lot better right now.”
What about Roberto? Executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said RHP Roberto Hernandez, who faces the Red Sox tonight, is not pitching to keep his spot in the rotation.
Hernandez allowed four runs and a season-high 10 hits in 51/3 innings during his previous start, a 5-2 loss to the Tigers that dropped his record to 3-6.
“He's had some really good starts. He's had a couple that weren't as good,” Friedman said. “But for the most part it's been an execution of pitches. His stuff's been good, which is important. If his stuff backed up it would be a bigger issue, but it hasn't. His stuff's in place to get outs. He's getting a lot of empty swings. And now it's just that last mile of executing slightly better, and there's a lot of upside.”
Now, about Myers Friedman would not directly address the subject of when Triple-A Durham OF Wil Myers will be called up to the big club, but every indication is it won't be anytime soon unless something happens to one of the Rays' outfielders.
Friedman said promotions for any of the Rays prospects come “when the opportunity arises” because of injuries or lack of production by one of the big-leaguers.
Friend-O-Rays Manager Joe Maddon will give out a Friend-O-Rays T-shirt with the slogan (Good happens …. here” to the person who tweets him (@RaysJoeMaddon) with the best inspirational quote. Maddon will retweet the quote and post it in the clubhouse.
The shirts will also be given to anyone who shows “a real act of kindness toward the Rays.”
Noteworthy RHP Brandon Gomes (right lat strain) is scheduled to throw his first bullpen Sunday. … The Rays signed undrafted free agent C Adam Pendleton from the University of Tampa and Alonso High. … 3B Evan Longoria begins his Reading with the Rays summer program from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday at the Pinellas Park Library. … 1B James Loney visited the Children's Medical Center at Tampa General Hospital on Monday.