DENVER — David Price is now focusing on his fastball, not a feud with umpire Tom Hallion.
The Tampa Bay Rays lefty didn’t believe the crew working the series will hold a grudge against him when he made his first start Saturday night against Colorado since his run-in with Hallion.
“Not at all,” Price said. “I don’t think umpires hold grudges. If something happened directly to that umpire, maybe. I don’t know. I don’t think so.”
The AL Cy Young Award winner accused Hallion of directing a profanity toward him during the Rays’ win over the Chicago White Sox last Sunday. Price thought Hallion missed a pitch and exchanged words.
After the game, Hallion called Price a “liar.” That assertion still rankles Price, who would like an apology.
“I’m not a liar. I still stand behind what I said,” Price said Friday in the clubhouse. “I don’t feel like that type of stuff should happen. It shouldn’t happen in any environment. Nobody that is an employee or a co-worker or your boss, that’s not the way you talk to people. It’s not the way you talk to anybody, I don’t care if you see a bum on the street.
“It’s the way I feel, the way I was raised. I feel like I was raised extremely well by my parents. I stand firm behind my beliefs.”
Major League Baseball fined Hallion and Tampa Bay pitchers Price, Jeremy Hellickson and Matt Moore for their roles in the dustup. Each of the pitchers was fined $1,000. It was unknown how much Hallion was docked.
“I didn’t want him to get fined. I didn’t want him to get suspended,” Price said. “I definitely didn’t want him to get fired, anything like that, because that doesn’t just affect him but it affects his family.”
Rays manager Joe Maddon considers the matter closed. Now, he wants his ace to turn all his concentration toward the mound.
“It’s about moving on. It’s about focusing on your team, your team doing well and not really worrying about the other stuff,” Maddon said. “I’m sure Tommy feels pretty badly about it still. So, let’s just move on. I thought it got way too much traction and I don’t want to add to it. I just want him to play tomorrow, pitch tomorrow, win tomorrow.”
Funny, that’s what Price wants, too.
Oh, and he’s also looking forward to grabbing a bat and stepping up to the plate in interleague play. Price laced his first career hit at Coors Field, in his first major league at-bat no less. He hit a single off sinker baller Aaron Cook on June 17, 2009.
Price still vividly recalls all the details - a chopper up the middle on a 93 mph pitch from Cook. Sprinting down the baseline in about 3.7 seconds - his estimate - to beat the throw from Troy Tulowitzki, who briefly bobbled the baseball. Looking up at the scoreboard and seeing his batting average read 1.000.
“Should’ve retired them,” Price said, smiling.
He still has the ball, too - the fake and the real one. On the fake version, former teammate James Shields scribbled all sorts of hilarious comments, like the hit was off comedian Dane Cook and that it happened at Mile High Stadium.
“It’s fun to be able to hit (here),” Price said.
Not as fun to pitch at Coors Field, though.
“Every park has their little niche,” Price said.