Former Vandy Star David Price Finally Close to Pitching

(ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.) -- Tampa Bay prospect David Price, the Rays' #1 pick in last year's amateur draft, is close to pitching for the first time this year.

The Vanderbilt star is expected to start the season with Class A - Vero Beach (Fla. St.) after left elbow soreness landed him on the sidelines. He threw Monday in St. Petersburg, and according to Tampa Bay's executive vice president of baseball operations, he's expected to throw five innings later in the week in an extended Spring Training game.

Price, 22, was signed to a deal worth $11.25 million late last summer.

He impressed everyone in Spring Training and retired 6 of the 7 hitters he faced over two games while experiencing some tightness in his left shoulder early in camp. His fastball tipped 99 mph on several occasions.

Many feel he might join the big league team as early as midseason.

The Rays entered Tuesday night's action in 2nd place in the American League East, a half-game behind the Red Sox.