Rays hitters take hacks vs. Price in batting practice

Rays hitters take hacks vs. Price in batting practice

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Saturday's morning workout featured the Rays' first live batting practice this spring.

Among those on the bump was David Price, who looked ready to start the season.

"It went really good," Price said. "I felt great. I kind of surprised myself how good I felt, being at 9 in the morning. Even at Spring Training, that's kind of early to be out there facing hitters. Everything felt really good, that's good."

Hitters are definitely behind the pitchers at this point.

"Yeah, this is probably their first time of seeing actual pitching from somebody on the mound after living up in the Northeast, or whatever their circumstances are -- it's tough to face Major League pitching in the offseason, because a lot of Major League pitchers aren't throwing," Price said. "So this is their first time seeing live pitching probably in four or five months. So it feels good going out there and trying to hurt their confidence a little bit."

Price smiled when asked if he felt sorry for the hitters.

"No," he said. "It's timing for them. It's good for both of us. That's the first time I've had a real hitter standing in the box, with a helmet and a bat, stuff like that. So it definitely works both ways."

Matt Joyce was among the hitters Price faced.

"He looked great," Joyce said of Price. "It's nice to have him on our team, that's for sure. … You guys know how it goes. First time seeing live pitching, guy looks like he's throwing 110 mph. I was just trying to make contact. Sometimes it's a good thing, because it simplifies everything. You're not trying to do too much. You're just trying to make contact. At the same time, we've got a great pitching staff."

Joyce said it doesn't take that long for the hitters to catch up to the pitchers.

"Everybody's different, but you take a lot of swings in the cage and hit on the field a bunch, for the most part, hitters are hitting before they come here -- after that, it's just getting into game-type simulation, so it will probably take like four or five days," Joyce said.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.