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Smyly settling into new environment with Rays

Smyly settling into new environment with Rays play video for Smyly settling into new environment with Rays

ST. PETERSBURG -- Drew Smyly walked into the Rays' clubhouse for the first time on Saturday afternoon and experienced the unexpected: he was fitted for a tuxedo.

The Rays are going with formal wear for their upcoming themed road trip to Oakland, Chicago and Texas.

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"That was a first for me," said Smyly, who was one of the three players the Rays received in the trade that sent David Price to the Tigers. "I show up, and they're like, 'We're doing a tuxedo on this trip', so they were all ready for me to get sized up. I'm excited to wear it.

"... I've already heard about their flight theme parties. Everybody knows it's kind of an exciting, laid back place to play. I'm excited to be in that locker room."

Afterward, Smyly threw a bullpen then met with reporters prior to Saturday night's Rays-Angels contest at Tropicana Field.

"I'm excited [to be with the Rays]," Smyly said. "[The trade] caught me a little off guard at the spur of the moment, but the more I think about it I'm pumped to be here. And the Rays, obviously excited about me. So I'm excited to be here and do the best I can. I mean, they have a great tradition with their pitching. So I'm excited to learn from them."

Smyly said he learned a lot from being teammates on the Tigers with the likes of Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer.

"It was great getting to play with those guys," Smyly said. "I learned a lot. They're all pretty respected around the league. Getting to learn from them was awesome and hopefully I can take that here and learn more from all of these guys and our pitching coach. I'm excited about it."

Smyly noted he's experienced a whirlwind of activity since the trade.

"It's been a long 48 hours from packing in Detroit, learning names, shaking hands, traveling," Smyly said. "I'm excited to be here and finally settling down."

Among the familiar faces in the Rays' clubhouse are Logan Forsythe, who was his teammate at the University of Arkansas; Jeff Beliveau, who was a 2011 Team USA teammate; and Curt Casali from their time in the Tigers' farm system.

As for the elephant in the room, Smyly is viewed by many as the guy replacing Price. In other words, big shoes to fill. Smyly didn't shy away from talking about the situation.

"He's very big shoes," Smyly said. "He's David Price. He's outstanding. He's awesome to watch. I mean, the Rays, they made the move, so they obviously see something in me. So I'm really excited to be playing for a team that wants you."

Smyly believes the key will be not putting too much pressure on himself.

"It doesn't matter who you're playing for, it's competitiveness," Smyly said. "You're going to go out there and play the best you can. Not try to give in to anybody else. I try not to put too much pressure on myself. I have fun. You remember it's a game."

Smyly is scheduled to make his first start for the Rays Tuesday night in Oakland against the Athletics.

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

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