ST. PETERSBURG - LHP David Price (strain left triceps) makes his second rehab start tonight for Class A Charlotte in Port Charlotte.
Price threw 49 pitches in his first rehab start. The Rays would like him to throw 65 to 70 pitches tonight.
Manager Joe Maddon said Price's next step will be based on his re-evaluation Thursday.
Price's injury has healed. It's just a question of how far they want to stretch Price out during his minor-league rehab assignment.
Price can be activated for the series in Houston next week, but his pitch count will be limited and the Rays run the risk of a heavy bullpen night.
Of course they run that risk with rookie RHP Alex Colome, too.
The decision will be based on whether the Rays want to take that risk or give Price one more start to help build his arm strength.
Torres among the four
Maddon called for LHP Alex Torres in the eighth inning Monday night because LHP Jake McGee wasn't available and, with a four-run lead, wanted to avoid using RHP Joel Peralta.
And, because Maddon felt it was time to use Torres in a late-inning situation.
Maddon wants at least four guys in his bullpen that he can use with the score tied or with the lead, calling them "even or ahead" guys. He has closer Fernando Rodney, Peralta and McGee. Can Torres be the fourth?
"I think he already is," Maddon said.
That's quite a transformation for a rookie who joined the team the team in mid-May for three days as a fresh arm for a tired bullpen and returned June 1 for basically the same role.
"I'm just trying to be available to any role he wants to put me in, any situation I have to be ready for," Torres said. "I just have to keep doing what I've been doing, throw the ball around the strike zone."
Torres is following a path similar to the one blazed in 2008 by LHP J.P. Howell, who went from being a starter to a long reliever to a guy who pitched in late-inning, high-leverage moments.
Two things have worked in favor of Torres: He has done nothing but get hitters out (six hits, one earned run, 28 strikeouts in 21 innings) and he warms up quickly.
"My arm, it doesn't bother me at all," he said.
Maddon also likes the fact Torres can retire both right-handed and left-handed batters, which means Maddon isn't limited to playing matchups with Torres on the opposing hitters.
Maddon said the idea of using Torres in a more important role was born from watching him retire hitters such as Detroit's Torii Hunter, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder in order with the bases loaded.
"It's all about leverage moments, and he's just indicated to us that he can get good hitters out in tight moments, and I don't think it's a stretch right now to put him out there," Maddon said.
Colome for Friday
Thursday's off day gives the Rays a chance to shuffle the rotation and have RHP Chris Archer, RHP Jeremy Hellickson and LHP Matt Moore face the Tigers. But, Maddon said the Rays will pass on that opportunity for the opportunity of giving those three an extra day between starts.
So the Tigers will see Colome, Archer and Hellickson.
"I thought (Colome) did pretty well last time (against the Yankees)," Maddon said. "And the other guys are going to need their rest, too, so you just want to stay with that to make sure nothing got skewed regarding rest."
RHP Brandon Gomes (right lat strain) threw 11 pitches in his one inning Monday as he began his minor-league rehab with Class A Charlotte.
Gomes said he is scheduled to pitch another inning Thursday for Charlotte and then go one-plus innings Saturday for the Stone Crabs.
"I'm not sure," Gomes said. "I think we're going to do three for sure than re-evaluate after that. It's out of my control."
Gomes pitched the first inning, which made the rehab assignment his first start since 2008 when he started two games for Class A Fort Wayne in the Padres organization.
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