PORT CHARLOTTE – Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon officially announced Thursday morning that David Price will be the Opening Day starter.
This is the third Opening Day start for Price. He pitched the openers in 2011 and 2013.
“After many hours of discussion and back-and-forth among the staff and the front office and my Twitter account, we decided to go with David Price as the Opening Day starter,” Maddon joked.
Maddon talked earlier in the morning with Price to congratulate him on the honor, something that appeared unlikely heading into last offseason as speculation of Price’s impending trade began to build.
“All I know is this: When you see him here now, I try to visualize him not being here now, and the different feeling that would engender,” Maddon said. “It would be an entirely different feeling without him being here.
“It’s really good to have him back, man. You got to do it. You got to play that mind game with yourself. What would it be like to not have him here? Not nearly the vibe we have going on right now.”
Maddon will announce the rest of the rotation within the next few days.
“You can probably write a list down, a pecking order that you think makes sense, and I wouldn’t argue with it,” Maddon said. “We’ll look at the entire month and how it breaks down for the following guys to pitch and if there’s any better setup regarding who can be two, who can be three, etcetera.
“We’ll make that announcement relatively soon because we have to, but we’re still looking at a couple of little different things that may impact the first month of the season.”
Still in question is the fifth starter spot where Cesar Ramos, Jake Odorizzi, Erik Bedard and Nathan Karnes are competing.
“We haven’t thinned it out yet,” Maddon said. “They’re all in pretty good shape, right now. We just have to make up our mind relatively soon and iron the whole thing out, but they all looked pretty good. It’s a nice problem.”