OAKLAND -- When Drew Smyly makes his first Rays start on Tuesday night against the A's, manager Joe Maddon wants to make absolutely sure the lefty's mind is not overflowing with information.
Maddon has given him a simple game plan with some gentle suggestions, but other than that, Smyly will be on his own.
"A couple suggestions we have, we've already given him for tomorrow. They're extremely simple," Maddon said before Monday's series opener at the Coliseum. "These are the couple suggestions we have for you to think about, and then if you want to utilize them, fine."
One thing Maddon certainly did not suggest: for Smyly to try to replace departed ace David Price.
"We want him to be himself," Maddon said. "He's been pitching well. We don't want to get in his way right now."
"You're not going to replace David Price," said Smyly. "The Rays made the trade, they wanted me, so I'm going to do the best I can and try to learn from them and get better every game. I'm just doing me."
Smyly was 6-9 this year with a 3.93 ERA in 21 appearances (18 starts) for Detroit before being traded in a three-team, non-waiver Deadline deal. He has logged 105 1/3 innings, and Maddon has received no information about any innings restrictions.
The southpaw had his worst start of the season in Oakland on May 26, giving up six runs in five innings. He will have a chance to avenge that loss -- and to kick-start his Rays tenure -- on Tuesday.
"I'm very anxious, anxious to get that first game under my belt," Smyly said. "Hopefully I can make a good impression for all these guys."
Aaron Leibowitz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less