Notes: Price gets birthday surprise; Tigers claim Qualls

DETROIT — New Tiger David Price got a new appreciation of Detroit, thanks to a special birthday present.

Price’s girlfriend, Tiffany, surprised him with a helicopter tour on Monday, the team’s day off.

"I’ve always wanted to ride in a helicopter," Price said. "That was the first time I’ve ever done that. We did that, Astro got a Detroit Tigers jersey, so he was pumped. It’s my birthday but he’s still getting gifts. That’s how it always goes."

Price, who turned 29 Tuesday, said the tour took them all over the place.

"Saw everything from a bird’s eye view, saw a lot of nice golf courses, flew over Comerica, Ford Field, went over to the Silverdome, saw that, what’s left of it," Price said. "We went over Belle Isle. I don’t remember all the lakes, I guess there’s more than 10,000. I guess we flew over the mayor’s house. That was ridiculous."

Price said the water looked clear from up there.

"I think that was the most surprising to me, I could see, not the sandbar but whatever’s in the bottom of those lakes," Price said. "I could see all the way down. That was refreshing. I don’t get in the water that much but I feel like if I did, I’d feel a lot better."

While Price has settled in nicely with the team, he’s not quite settled in a home yet, especially with the Tigers coming home for just three games before heading out again.

"It stinks. I didn’t unpack my suitcase," Price said. "I haven’t unpacked ever since I got traded so I’m living out of a suitcase and I’ve been in a hotel. So I guess it almost feels more normal being on the road, just being in a different hotel. It’s all right. I’m dealing with it."

Price said he and the team aren’t looking too far ahead even though there’s just over a month left in the regular season.

"If you get caught up in all the wild card chases or the division championships, whatever, league titles, that’s when you find yourself not playing in October," Price said. "So we just need to focus in on the task at hand right now and just take care of business right now and that’ll propel us into the postseason."


The Tigers put a claim on Houston Astros reliever Chad Qualls and now have two days to try to work out a deal.

Qualls, 36, talked to CSN Houston’s Howard Chen about the claim.

"I could’ve signed there in the offseason," Qualls told Chen. "Obviously, they tried to trade for me at the deadline. With me being put on waivers, why wouldn’t they want to take another chance now? So, yet again, nothing’s changed. I’m going to go to work as usual and do my thing."

Tigers manager Brad Ausmus is familiar with Qualls, having caught him in Houston from 2004-07.

"He’s a hard-throwing sinkerballer, sinker-slider guy," Ausmus said. "Waiver claims this time of year, they don’t really mean anything. 

"A quality pitcher like that, you’d always take in your bullpen, for sure. Again, I don’t think there’s anything to talk about. As far as I know, Tiger baseball stance, there’s really nothing to it."

Qualls had fond memories of his time with Ausmus.

"I love to hate him and he loves to hate me," Qualls joked. "No, it’s great, especially since I was so young when he was a catcher. He already had so many years in the big leagues and I learned a lot from him. I mean, I could ask him anything and bounce anything off him. Even in the offseason, I’d talk to him about contracts and stuff like that."

Price said he learned from Qualls when the two were teammates in Tampa in 2010.

"He taught me my two-seamer," Price said. "We had just traded for him and we got him the day before I pitched. I had seen him throw and I saw the action on his fastball. It’s like a bowling ball, it just kind of deadens bats. I just went up to him, we were out there stretching, I was like, ‘How do you hold your two-seam?’ He showed me that."

Qualls is 1-3 with a 3.07 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 14 saves in 49 appearances this season.

His family lives in Austin, Tex., so he does have a good reason for wanting to stay there.

"Anytime anybody wants you is a good feeling," Qualls said. "Obviously, they’re in a pennant race over there and need some bullpen help. Flattering or not flattering, I still have a job to do here and basically, my commitment is to these guys and this team and trying to get the Houston Astros in a positive direction."


After getting Sunday’s game off and Monday’s off day to rest his sore ankle, Miguel Cabrera was back in the lineup Tuesday.

"I think it was good to give him the two days," Ausmus said. "He said he feels better, said he’s ready to play first."

According to STATS LLC, Cabrera came into Tuesday’s game with just one home run in his last 124 plate appearances, the first time that’s happened in his career.