PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. (AP) — David Price needs a little more time before opening day.
“I’m still searching right now,” the Tampa Bay Rays ace said after Saturday’s 6-4 loss to the Minnesota Twins.
The AL Cy Young Award winner gave up three runs — two earned — and nine hits in five innings. He had been hoping to pitch into the sixth.
“I feel fine. I feel good out there, and my stuff is good and good in the bullpen,” Price said. “I really feel like last year it took me to my first start. That’s when everything clicked for me. I’m still kind of waiting for that now.”
Price was 20-5 with a 2.56 ERA last year.
“This last week I feel like I’ve hit a wall in spring training,” he said. “I get out there on the mound, I just feel like blah.”
Eduardo Escobar hit a go-ahead, two-run single in the seventh against Jim Palduch.
Jose Lobaton, trying to earn a backup catching job with the Rays, was 3 for 3 with a solo home run and raised his spring average to .257.
“I’ve been struggling all spring and been working hard in the cage,” Lobaton said.
NOTES: Twins RHP Samuel Deduno will miss a few days after straining a groin at the WBC. … Minnesota LHP Glen Perkins made his first spring training appearance since March 2. The Twins closer, who was on the U.S. team at the WBC, had appeared in two minor leagues games since returning to camp. … Evan Longoria hit his eighth double. … Rays reliever Joel Peralta turned 37. … Rays RHP Kyle Farnsworth left as precaution when a comebacker ricocheted off his pitching hand. … The Rays released OF Jack Cust and sent RHPs Dane De La Rosa and Kirby Yates, OF Rich Thompson and INFs Leslie Anderson and Cole Figueroa to their minor league camp.