Aug 10, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA: Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher David Price (14) stretches before a game against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE

Rays Notes: Price's Birthday, Matthew Spann, Jesse Hahn

David Price celebrated his 27th birthday and had a lot of fun regarding the occasion, both on Twitter and talking to Marc Topkin.

“I’ll definitely be older. Hopefully I’ll be a little wiser. I don’t know about the maturity level; that’s probably always going to stay pretty low. It’s all about having fun — that’s what we do.”

Happy Birthday to Price and good luck to him starting today in Texas.

In Jeff Passan’s 25 Things You Didn’t Know About Baseball, Price got a mention as the pitcher with the best fastball in baseball this season. Other Rays mentions were

  • Fernando Rodney‘s 0.77 ERA on the season is currently the third best in baseball history behind Rob Murphy’s 1986 and Dennis Eckersley’s 1990. If Rodney managed to toss shutout ball the rest of the season over at least 14 innings pitched, he would have the record. Wow.
  • James Shields got two mentions: 1) as the pitcher with the worst cutter in baseball and 2) as the pitcher who uses his changeup the most. Those are just something to laugh about now that Shields has finally gotten his season on track in his last several starts.
  • And speaking of cutters, Sean Rodriguez is the worst hitter in baseball against them. Sorry, Sean.

Topkin also reported at the link above that Jeff Niemann is fine after getting hit by a liner in his right, pitching hand during his last rehab start and the Rays are weighing how they will use their starting pitchers the rest of the season. With Niemann back, the Rays will have 6 starting pitchers and we’ll have to see exactly how they utilize them. The Rays’ starters have been adamant about not wanting to go into a full-fledged 6-man rotation in the past and it would be strange for the Rays to take away starts from a group of 5 starters who have all thrown the ball well of late.

A could of Rays’ pitching prospects got write-ups, lefty Matthew Spann in the Times Herald-Record, and right-hander Jesse Hahn on MiLB.com. Both are members of the Short Season-A Hudson Valley Renegades. Nice to see that and here are some of the highlights.

Spann:

“I pretty much told my parents that I liked school and everything, but it’s once in a lifetime here and I didn’t feel like going to college and end up getting hurt or something and not get this opportunity to play.”

“The biggest thing is about keeping my alignment. In high school I was really bad about throwing over my body. Getting here and going through extended (spring training), I’ve learned more about alignment stuff. That’s a big part of my game. If I get off, I start throwing wild, so that’s a big part of it.

“It’s been a blast. All this chemistry around this team has helped us all settle in. We go home, sleep, come back here and we’re like a big old family. The coaches act like moms and dads and they keep us in line, but they’re just having fun with us. I feel like that’s why we’re having a great season.”

“I go by Matthew, which is my original name. In Princeton, I don’t know what happened. (He laughs.) Somebody ended up calling me Matt and it’s gone on my whole career now.”

Hahn:

“I feel like my fastball is back up to where it was before (the surgery). It feels really good. My (fastball) command is there, and I can bump it up with two strikes if I need to.”

“Everyone’s excited to get to the playoffs and get a shot at a championship. This team has some great chemistry.”

For more on Spann and Hahn, you can check out what we wrote about them here at RCG here and here.

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Tags: David Price Jeff Niemann Jesse Hahn Matthew Spann Tampa Bay Rays

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