ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — David Price’s tough season took another negative turn.
Price left early on with a strained left triceps in the Tampa Bay Rays’ 9-2 loss to the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday night.
Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said the AL Cy Young Award winner will probably miss his next scheduled start on Monday. Price, who had an MRI exam, will have his status evaluated on Thursday.
“From what I was told right now, there was nothing really hot on the MRI,” Maddon said. “We’ll look at it further tomorrow and made a determination at that point. But from what I’m hearing right now it doesn’t sound to be awful.”
Price (1-4) departed from the marquee pitching matchup with Jon Lester during Boston’s eight-run third inning, which Stephen Drew finished with his towering grand slam off Jamey Wright.
Price said he felt discomfort on four or five fastballs during the third.
“It just felt (like) tightness,” Price said. “It wasn’t like excruciating pain, but I’ve never felt anything like that before. My gut feeling, I feel OK right now. I don’t think it’s too bad.”
Price left with one out in the third after giving up an RBI single to David Ortiz. The left-hander walked toward the plate after delivering the pitch to the Boston designated hitter and appeared to grimace.
“It’s something I’ve got to take care of,” Price said. “I can’t just go out there because I’m just not putting my neck on the line. I’m part of this team. I want to be there in August and September and October, when we’re playing in the playoffs.”
Maddon, a team trainer and the entire Rays infield joined Price on the mound. Price walked off the field after a brief consultation and was replaced by Wright.
“Just looking at him, I knew he did not want to throw (a warm-up pitch),” Maddon said. “I knew something was bothering him, so it was an easy decision.”
A 20-game winner last year, Price has struggled this season. Tampa Bay has lost seven of his nine starts, and Price uncharacteristically has given up eight leads over his past seven outings.
The Rays’ ace has been bothered by allergies since before the start of spring training, but Price said this week he’d never use that as an excuse for his performance. He gave up two-out doubles to Dustin Pedroia in the first and Will Middlebrooks in the second without allowing further damage.
The Rays weren’t as fortunate in the third, when Price walked Drew and gave up a single to Jacoby Ellsbury to begin Boston’s biggest inning of the season.
Pedroia’s RBI single gave the Red Sox a 1-0 lead. Ortiz’s opposite-field single that just eluded diving third baseman Evan Longoria made it 2-0.
Mike Napoli doubled and Jonny Gomes singled off Wright to drive in the final two runs charged to Price, who allowed four runs and five hits in 2 1-3 innings. Jarrod Saltalamacchia walked with two outs to load the bases for Drew, who lifted a 1-1 pitch into the half-filled right-field stands at Tropicana Field.
Price is hopeful of doing some baseball activities on Thursday, and making his next start.
“It’s just something I take pride in, being available every fifth day and being out there for my team,” Price said. “I don’t know how that’s looking right now, but I’ll just get re-evaluated tomorrow. The biggest thing is going to be how I feel tomorrow. Hopefully I can come in and play catch tomorrow. That’s what I have on my mind right now, so we’ll see how I wake up tomorrow and how it feels.”
Lester stayed unbeaten for the Red Sox. Coming off a one-hit, complete game shutout of Toronto, Lester (6-0) allowed two runs in seven innings to help end the Rays’ season-best six-game winning streak.
The Red Sox, meanwhile, stopped a three-game losing streak that’s been part of a May slide. They are 5-9 this month after going a major league-best 18-8 in April.
Pedroia has a seven-game hitting streak, and he’s had multiple hits in six of those games. Middlebrooks hit a solo homer off Kyle Farnsworth in the eighth.
Desmond Jennings tripled to drive in Tampa Bay’s first run, then scored when Ben Zobrist grounded out.
NOTES: Price beat Toronto on May 15 of last year to improve to 6-2. … Price has not won at Tropicana Field since July 19, 2012, a stretch covering eight starts. … Tampa Bay’s Alex Cobb (4-2) will start Thursday night’s series finale, his first outing since striking out 13 in 4 2-3 innings against San Diego to become the first pitcher in major league history to fan that many batters in an appearance lasting fewer than five innings. The Red Sox will counter with LHP Felix Doubront (3-1).