ST. PETERSBURG — Rays LHP David Price is expected to start this afternoon against the Blue Jays, a move that will prevent him from pitching in Tuesday’s All-Star Game in Minneapolis.
MLB announced Saturday night that Price was removed from the active roster and replaced with former Rays closer Fernando Rodney, who had an American League-high 27 saves going into Saturday night’s game against Oakland.
“I’m going to have fun,” Rodney told reporters in Seattle. “I’ll throw my arrow. No matter what inning I pitch, I’ll throw it.”
The decision was made by Boston manager John Farrell in conjunction with MLB.
Price, who leads the major leagues in strikeouts (159) and is second in the majors in innings pitched (1392⁄3), was scheduled to pitch Saturday but was scratched because of a virus. Pitchers who start on Sunday are given the option of pitching in the All-Star Game for one inning or an established pitch count, according to the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The Rays would have discouraged that.
Price is expected to attend the All-Star festivities.
Rays manager Joe Maddon said he expects Price to be healthy enough today to pitch as long as he can.
“I’m anticipating a normal start,” Maddon said.
If not, RHP Jeremy Hellickson will be available for long relief since today would have been his day to pitch if not for Thursday’s off day.
Odorizzi fills in well
RHP Jake Odorizzi, who moved his start up one day and replaced Price, allowed three runs in 62⁄3 innings and earned his third win in his past four decisions.
“I was pretty comfortable with it,” Odorizzi said. “I thought I had really good stuff. Pitch count really didn’t affect me. I felt my stuff was the same from pitch one to the last one, so I was good.”
Odorizzi has a 3.14 ERA in his past 14 starts.
Good eye, Cole
Cole Figueroa made his first plate appearance since July 3 when he hit for Sean Rodriguez with the bases loaded and one out in the sixth inning and drew a walk after a nine-pitch at-bat.
Figueroa worked the count full, fouled off three pitches, then drew his first career walk that drove in the run that snapped a 2-2 tie.
“It’s all how you perceive it,” Figueroa said about going eight games between at-bats. “You can let it get to you and go, ‘Well I have no chance. I haven’t seen pitching in a while.’ Or you can just accept your role and be confident. That’s all you can do and let the results happen for themselves.”
Maddon said that was the at-bat that turned the game.
“Definitely,” Figueroa said. “After I walked, you could feel the energy in the crowd and the guys were pumped. As soon as Kevin (Kiermaier) got that base hit in the next at-bat, you could see them kind of put their head down a little bit. I felt like we had a good chance to win that game.”
C Ryan Hanigan has been dealing with a sore left side since the team was in Detroit last weekend.
“He thought he was over it. It feels better and not so good, better and not so good. So right now let’s not push it,” Maddon said. “The overall plan is to have him ready for Friday.”
CF Desmond Jennings did not play because of a bruised left knee. Maddon said he was available in an emergency. ... Kiermaier has 22 extra-base hits, tied with Jorge Cantu for the most in team history through the first 48 games of a career. Kiermaier also has eight hits in his past 11 at-bats. ... Figueroa’s walk was the third time a pinch-hitter drew a bases-loaded walk that gave the Rays the lead. Reid Brignac and Eric Hinske also did it. ... 1B James Loney had his 29th multi-hit game of the season, tied with Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera, the Angels’ Albert Pujols and Kansas City’s Eric Hosmer for most among AL first basemen. ... The Rays reached double digits in runs without a hit from 3B Evan Longoria for only the third time in Longoria’s career.