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03/24/08 6:20 PM ET

Price to be out indefinitely with strain

Prized lefty won't be ready in time for Class A opener

ST. PETERSBURG -- David Price will not pitch when the advanced Class A Vero Beach Rays open their season April 3 at St. Lucie.

Price felt elbow soreness after throwing a slider in a Minor League game on Thursday, and was ruled to have a muscle strain after seeing team orthopedic Koco Eaton on Monday.

Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman said it is good news in the sense that the injury isn't significant. However, the setback comes at a time when Price direly needed to get innings.

Price threw just two innings at Major League camp, and has only tossed a few more in Minor League situations this spring.

"He hasn't really been built up," said Friedman. "I don't know when yet we will start a throwing program, but we have to effectively build him up."

Friedman estimates it will take about six weeks from Tuesday to get Price's conditioning back, and noted that the lefty did not leave his scheduled start early.

"The biggest delay is going to be just in terms of building him back up not necessarily getting him healthy," Friedman said.

In two innings at the Major League level, Price faced seven batters, striking out three and not allowing a run.

The No. 1 overall pick from 2007 First-Year Player Draft from Vanderbilt, Price's fastball was clocked this spring at 99 mph. With the elbow strain, Price will likely stay in St. Petersburg for extended workouts until sometime in May.

Brittany Ghiroli is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.