09/21/08 5:59 PM ET
Price to make debut start on Monday
Rookie gets the nod in series opener in Baltimore
By Brittany Ghiroli / MLB.com
Come Monday, the highly touted rookie won't need to remind anyone of his arrival, as Maddon announced Sunday that Price will make his first Major League start Monday night in Baltimore.
"He's champing at the bit," Maddon said. "He wants me to know he's there, he wants me to know he's good [to throw], and I like it. So we will give him the start [Monday]."
Price will take the rotation turn of right-hander Matt Garza, who tossed Wednesday night's game on shortened rest, and will be followed by James Shields and rookie Mitch Talbot in Tuesday's doubleheader.
"That's something I waited, I guess, 23 years for," Price said of the news he recieved Sunday morning. "I'm happy it's finally here."
The 23-year-old Price made his Major League debut in an extended relief stint Sunday against the Yankees, and he pitched again in relief on Thursday against the Twins. The top pick in 2007's First-Year Player Draft, Price has tossed a total of six innings out of the bullpen -- allowing two runs on four hits -- and posting a 3.00 ERA.
Maddon has been impressed with the young lefty's poise on the mound and said he liked the way Baltimore's hitters matched up with Price.
"Just looking at the Orioles, if you look at [Price's] record this year, he does nice against left-handed hitters," Maddon said.
The move is two-fold for the Rays, as the club will get to see Price in regular-season action and Garza will be able to get a lengthy recovery. Maddon said Garza will get his next start as scheduled, which would be Saturday's game in Detroit.
"It shows they have a lot of trust in me," Price said. "We're 1 1/2 games up in the American League East. These are huge games for us."
Although Price has been pitching out of the Rays' bullpen since his callup on Sept. 13, Maddon said he will hold the young lefty to a pretty standard 100-pitch count on Monday night. Price was equally submissive about the move, saying he "hadn't changed anything" coming out of the 'pen, and wasn't worried about reverting to his starting days a few weeks ago in Triple-A Durham.
Fellow rookie Talbot will also be making his first Major League start in the Rays' second game on Tuesday, as Maddon also liked the way the right-hander has performed against lefty-heavy lineups like the Orioles.
Talbot made his Major League debut in relief of Scott Kazmir last Monday, tossing three innings and allowing four runs.
Brittany Ghiroli is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.