David Price is eager to return and could be poised to double his season win total.
The Tampa Bay Rays left-hander will be activated Tuesday night after his first stint on the disabled to face a Houston Astros offense that is struggling during a four-game slide.Price (1-4, 5.24 ERA) has been out since May 15 due to a left triceps strain. He's the first reigning Cy Young Award winner to go on the disabled list since Jake Peavy in 2008."I feel extremely good right now," Price told the Rays' official website. "I just want to continue to work hard and continue to use our trainers the way I have always and just expect better results."Price went 1-0 with a 1.23 ERA in two rehab starts at Class-A Charlotte with eight strikeouts over five scoreless innings in the last one Wednesday."If we could get six innings out of him that would be outstanding," manager Joe Maddon said. "Primarily let's just wish him good health and the fact that we're beyond the problem."His lone career start against Houston (30-53) was a 10-6 victory he got credit for despite allowing five runs over five innings May 23, 2010.Price could have a good night against an Astros offense that has totaled five runs while hitting .153 with 39 strikeouts over the last four games.The Rays (44-39) won 12-0 on Monday for their most lopsided win of the year to open this four-game set. Matt Moore worked seven innings for his 11th victory and Cesar Ramos pitched the final two of the two-hitter.Sean Rodriguez had a career-high four hits -- two doubles -- with three RBIs and three other Rays added three hits apiece as part of a 17-hit attack."It was just a tough, frustrating game watching them score the runs and just being on defense all day and watching it happen," Astros first baseman Chris Carter said.All of that offense came without Evan Longoria, who has missed the last three games with a foot injury. He's hitting .358 against left-handers and missed a chance to go up against Dallas Keuchel on Monday as Tampa Bay gets ready to face another southpaw in Erik Bedard (3-3, 4.44)."It's still a day by day situation," Maddon said. "We think that we might be able to get him back somehow, some way. We'll just wait and see."The Rays improved to 14-10 against left-handed starters as they face a familiar foe in Bedard, who is 11-5 with a 3.32 ERA against them in 22 starts.Bedard is 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA in six home starts, with the Astros losing all of the outings in which he failed to receive decisions. He has yielded three runs or fewer in nine of his last 10 starts.Bedard has never faced James Loney, who is hitting .396 during a 12-game streak and is second in the majors with a .363 mark on the road.The Astros expect Carlos Pena to return Tuesday after he missed two games to be with his family in the Dominican Republic following the drowning death of his nephew.Tampa Bay has won six straight over Houston.