ST. PETERSBURG -- David Price threw off a mound Friday for the first time since May 15 when he felt a strain in his left triceps while pitching against the Red Sox.
Under the watchful eyes of Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey, head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield and fellow pitcher Matt Moore, as well as three TV cameras and a half-dozen reporters, Price, the 2012 American League Cy Young Award winner, threw 38 pitches in an eight-minute stint in the bullpen before Friday night's game against the Orioles.
"It felt good to get back on the mound," said Price, who appeared to throw free and easy as he threw all of the pitches in his repertoire. "I threw everything. Nothing bothered me. I didn't feel anything in my arm or anywhere else.
"This was a big step. I hadn't thrown a bullpen in how many weeks?"
However, neither Price nor the Rays are speculating on how soon the 27-year-old left-hander might be ready to return to the starting rotation.
"It's a process," Price said. "I'll take two days off. Then I don't know what I'll do next. Maybe a sim[ulated] game on the field on Monday. We're taking it day by day. They want to make sure I'm 100 percent comfortable when I come back."
"I know he's been throwing well," said Rays manager Joe Maddon. "Ron is very happy with his progress."
Although Price understands the Rays' reasons for being cautious, he is eager to get back into action.
"Being on the DL has been difficult, especially when the team is on the road," Price said. "I have a lot of free time. It seems like I have more time than I do during the offseason.
"But I'm giving myself a mental break, too. A break from everything. That's one of the reasons I haven't been on the road. I don't have you guys in the press asking me about it every day."
Jim Hawkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.