ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — David Price won’t pitch in the All-Star Game on Tuesday night, but the excitement that comes with living the event remains real.
”Absolutely,” the Tampa Bay Rays’ ace left-hander said Sunday, following his eight-inning start in a victory over the Toronto Blue Jays at Tropicana Field. ”It’s always fun to be a part of an All-Star Game.”
Price was named Tampa Bay’s lone representative when initial rosters were announced July 6. But since he pitched Sunday, he elected not to participate for the American League when the majors’ top players gather at Target Field in Minneapolis.
Before last weekend, Price appeared ready to pitch against the National League. But a stomach virus made him miss his scheduled start Saturday against Toronto, and because he appeared Sunday, he opted out of playing Tuesday on one day of rest.
Former Rays closer Fernando Rodney, now with the Seattle Mariners, was named Price’s replacement late Saturday night with an American League-best 27 saves.
This is Price’s fourth All-Star Game honor. He was invited to the event from 2010 to 2012, and he had three combined innings of work with one hit allowed in the 2010 and 2012 games. He didn’t play in the 2011 All-Star Game because of a turf-toe issue.
”I’ll definitely never forget 2010 and then in 2012,” said Price, who’s 9-7 with a 3.23 ERA and 164 strikeouts in 20 starts this year. ”Being able to start the game in LA (in 2010) and throw an inning in Kansas City as well. It’s always fun.”
Make no mistake: Price has enjoyed himself in Minneapolis, even with his change of schedule. He took in the Home Run Derby on Monday night, and he has remained active on Twitter with his observations.
It’s all part of a growing memory.
”They’re all still special,” Price said recently. ”It’s still fun to get to go and watch all the festivities. You get a bunch of cool gifts as well, so that’s a really cool part, too. But they’re all special.”