ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Turns out David Price has dealt with more than first thought.
The Tampa Bay Rays left-hander and reigning American League Cy Young Award winner underwent an allergy test Tuesday and was given nasal spray and eye drops, which could help him manage the rashes and blurred vision he has lived with since mid-January.
Price revealed the problems Tuesday afternoon, before the Rays opened a three-game series against the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field. He blames the issues partly on a new injector system used to wash the Rays’ laundry.
He said different chemicals found in his clothing and towels introduced because of the system irritated his skin and eyes, to the point where he had to step off the mound at times this season because he couldn’t see the catcher’s signs.
“When I put the eye drops in on the way to the field, it wasn’t blurry anymore, so that was good,” Price said. “Hopefully, it’ll get better.”
Price said trainers knew his vision was blurry and that the Rays plan to wash his items — such as towels and washrags — separately from the team’s other materials from now on.
Price didn’t go as far to say that the odd breakouts were to blame for his slow start — “I would never say ‘yes,’ ” he said — but manager Joe Maddon admitted that this has been a factor for the pitcher since spring training. Maddon compared some of Price’s outbreaks to that of Will Smith’s character in the 2005 romantic comedy “Hitch.”
“He had that look about him,” Maddon said. “His eyes were swollen. He was just awful. Being an allergy guy myself — not to that extent — it’s really no fun. You get headaches. It’s kind of a funky day when your allergies are really kicking in. David doesn’t complain. He just keeps going about his business. We were just in Kansas City (April 30-May 2) and Colorado (May 3-5), and they kicked in again out there … As we move around the world right now this time of the year, different areas present different problems. And the guys that have it bad, it’s no fun.
“Just concentration-wise, it’s not that easy. Your head feels like a block of cement … David doesn’t make excuses. I’d like to believe nobody around here makes excuses. I’m just saying that there are contributing factors there.”
Signs of Price’s allergy test were present Tuesday. The pitcher’s arms included more than 50 needle marks. He suffers from multiple allergies — “Everything,” he said, when asked what he has — and he said the Kansas City trip was the worst for his condition.
“I would feel better on the road, yeah,” Price said. “It was bad. It just depends on where you are. In Kansas City, my allergies were freaking terrible. Terrible.”
Price, who has a 1-3 record with a 4.78 ERA, is scheduled to start against Boston at 7:10 p.m. Wednesday. The Rays are 2-6 in his starts this season.