Rays Roundup: Jesse Crain Closer to Return, Price Nominated for Award

By David Hill

Jesse Crain was expected to be a vital piece of the Rays bullpen when he was acquired. Unfortunately, Crain continued having setbacks with his strained shoulder and has yet to make an appearance for Tampa. Yet, that time may be getting closer, as Crain was finally able to face hitters for the first time yesterday, throwing batting practice to Sam Fuld and Chris Gimenez.

Using all his pitches, Crain said he felt great. In fact, he felt better than he did during his previous bullpen osession.

"“When I threw the bullpen on Friday, it didn’t feel the greatest, so I was worried,” Crain said. “Playing catch yesterday, I didn’t know how I felt. I was kind of nervous coming into today, but I felt strong, and nothing held me back.”"

With Joel Peralta struggling as of late and the Rays potentially in need of help in the back of the bullpen, Crain may be poised to return at the right time. Adding a fresh arm to the relief corp could also possibly help rest the rest of the relievers, and have everyone ready for a potential October run.

David Price, last year’s Cy Young Award winner, may find himself adding another award to his trophy case. Due to his efforts in helping both the Tampa area and his hometown of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Price was named as the Rays nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, given to players based not only for their work on the field, but for the dedication in giving back to their communities.

Price’s dedication to community service goes back to conversations he had with his father when he was younger about the importance of giving backif he was in a position to do so. As such, in 2008, Price began Project One Four, which helps support programs and organizations that help provide opportunities for youth to learn the skills they will need later in life. The charity also gives away clothing, backpacks and computers to children in need.

That work also comes with rewards also, particularly the gratitude that Price receives from those his charity helps.

"“You get hugs and you see how happy they are,” he said, “especially when we give away winter clothes and they don’t have any of those. It gets pretty cold in Murfreesboro and in [nearby] Nashville, as well. For those kids to have jackets and warm clothes to go to school — that’s pretty important.”"

At a time when the biggest stories surrounding baseball seemingly involve PEDs and Alex Rodriguez, it is good to see the positives in the sport getting recognition. We here at RCG would like to extend our congratulations to Price, and all the nominees, for this award.