ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Tampa Bay Rays left-hander David Price threw a 54-pitch simulated game Thursday as part of his continued rehab from a strained left triceps.
Price, the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner, said he “felt great” pitching against teammates Sam Fuld, Ryan Roberts and Sean Rodriguez at Tropicana Field before a game between the Rays and Kansas City Royals. The event was part of an accelerated timetable for Price’s return after he threw his second bullpen session Monday.
“It was good to get back there on the mound and face some hitters,” Price said. “Even though it’s not a real game, it’s my teammates, it felt good to get out there and see somebody standing in the box. It was a good day overall. Very strong. My arm felt good.
“I’m kind of getting the results that I’m expecting out there right now. It’s definitely good to go out there and feel as good as I’m feeling right now.”
Price said he plans to take Friday off before throwing another bullpen session Saturday.
Rays manager Joe Maddon said Price looked good enough that the pitcher is “actually exceeding expectations a little bit.” Maddon hinted that Price’s upcoming rehab assignments, which the manager has said could be as many as three, might be fewer if the Rays’ medical team approves the plan.
“Watching it visually, it looks pretty good,” Maddon said. “If the medical side is satisfied, it possibly could be less than three.”
Said Roberts: “It looks good. It looks like he’s ready.”
Price was placed on the 15-day disabled list for the first time in his career on May 16. He has not traveled with the Rays since sustaining the injury during an abbreviated start against the Boston Red Sox on May 15, but he has remained a presence at Tropicana Field during homestands.
He is 1-4 with a 5.24 ERA in nine starts this season.
An old friend was part of Price’s simulated game. Former Rays right-hander James Shields, traded to the Royals in December, stood in as a batter during Price’s opening warm-up pitches.
“It was nice to see David back out on the mound today,” said Shields, who has a 2-6 record with a 2.79 ERA in 14 starts this season. “I went to go check him out.”