ST. PETERSBURG -- David Price is on his way back to the Rays' rotation.
After being on the disabled list since May 16 with a strained left triceps, Price will make his return on Tuesday against the Astros at Minute Maid Park. Price pitched two rehab games for Class A Charlotte, and the results were good enough to convince the Rays that the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner is ready to rejoin the rotation.
"He's ready to go. We felt that pretty strongly. He feels very good," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "There was no reason to have him throw those 90 pitches in Port Charlotte, so we'll just have him do it for us. He was adamant that he felt great, the medical staff feels good about it, so let's do it with us."
Price was clearly excited about being back with the Rays on the road after spending more than a month going through his rehab at home. The left-hander will throw a bullpen session at Tropicana Field on Saturday afternoon, then slot into Tampa Bay's rotation after Matt Moore and before Roberto Hernandez, who will start Wednesday against the Astros on seven days' rest.
"It's going to be good to get out there and face Major League hitters in a Major League venue," Price said. "It's been quite a while, and I'm ready to get out there."
Price said he was looking forward to that part of his return -- getting to pitch again -- more than anything, but he's excited about being back with his teammates in the clubhouse and in the dugout. Price is scheduled to make three starts before the All-Star break: Tuesday in Houston, July 7 against the White Sox and July 12 at home against the Astros. He is also scheduled to start the first Friday after the All-Star break, facing the Blue Jays in Toronto on July 19.
While the long stay on the disabled list proved frustrating for the impatient Price, Maddon pointed out that it could serve as a nice break from what had been a disappointing start to his season. Price was 1-4 with a 5.24 ERA in nine games before leaving his May 15 start due to injury. The time off could help Price get back to his Cy Young form.
"That's not a bad thought. Just go out there and really almost start over again," Maddon said. "It's not like he had been throwing the ball badly. The results were just not there for him overall. But coming off this post-injury, just looking at the way he's been throwing the baseball, the numbers have been very good. It'll be exciting moving forward, but I think it's a great chance or opportunity for him to start over for the season."
Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. Sam Strong is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.