ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — David Price is all warmed up for the college football season.
The Tampa Bay Rays’ ace wore a Vanderbilt helmet, football jersey and pants during his bullpen session before Wednesday night’s home game against the Los Angeles Angels.
“I still have some eligibility left. Let’s see if I get any offers,” Price joked later.
Rays manager Joe Maddon is known for keeping the mood light. With college football starting this week, he invited Tampa Bay players and team personnel to wear the jerseys of their favorite teams when the playoff-contending Rays travel to the West Coast on Thursday night.
Price went to Vanderbilt, and the reigning AL Cy Young winner got all dressed up for his bullpen work. Vanderbilt’s opener is Thursday night when it hosts Mississippi.
Vanderbilt baseball coach Tim Corbin had the uniform sent to his former star this week.
“That might be the best yet, right down to the tape on the shoes with the message that says: ‘Mom, happy birthday,’” Maddon said. “It’s hard to beat that.”
The 28-year-old Price plans to wear the same outfit, helmet included, on the flight to Oakland. He is scheduled to pitch Friday night against the Athletics.
The 6-foot-6, 220-pound Price said he played football for a while, but never at a serious level.
“Two years, then I wisened up and figured it was best that I left that alone and focused on the other sports that I was playing,” he said. “I didn’t want to get hurt . . . and I figured it would be smart if I stuck to backyard football and continued to pitch.”