Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 7/7/13
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. David Prices second season is two starts old. If there is such a thing as a demarcation moment in baseball, the Tampa Bay Rays ace left-hander lived it when he took the mound last Tuesday in Houston to return from a 47-day disabled list stint. No team with playoff visions, of course, wants to be without a star for any amount of time, let alone a significant window. But in this regard, Price could be proven correct: The strained left triceps, sustained May 15 against the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field to mark his careers first DL stay, could become a blessing in disguise. That verdict remains unknown. Two impressive outings against bad opponents, the latest a five-strikeout complete game in a 3-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Sunday that closed with Price slamming his left palm into his glove to celebrate, are far from the sample size necessary to declare, David Price is back. More will be learned. Still, Prices recent emergence introduces a worthy question: Does time away motivate a player in such a way that his performance can be elevated, especially for someone considered to be among the leagues best at what he does? How does he channel the frustration, the agitation, of his absence into something productive when he returns? Im right where I need to be right now, said Price, whose ERA dropped to 4.18, and we still have a lot of baseball left. That is positive news for the Rays, and more importantly, for him. Measuring value of fresh starts and new beginnings can be risky business. There are a variety of potential outcomes for players when they return from a health obstacle like the one Price overcame, and his season can turn a number of directions at this point. But Prices recent statements indicate that this could be a year measured in two separate but significant eras: The Pre-DL and Post-DL versions of him. The Pre-DL Price went 1-4, had a 5.24 ERA and faced worn, repetitive queries about decreased velocity on his fastball. This was a time that included moments of visible frustration from him, and Whats wrong with Price? became a common question in the region and beyond when discussing the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner. Meanwhile, the Post-DL Price has gone 2-0, allowing just 11 hits and one run in 16 innings. He recorded the Rays first complete game since James Shields did so against the Baltimore Orioles on Oct. 2, 2012, and he has thrown just one three-ball count after facing 55 batters in his past two starts. I think the injury provided what he needed, said Rays manager Joe Maddon, who allowed Price to throw 98 pitches Sunday. Then I think the game itself provides what he needs. He loves to do this, and it was taken away from him a little bit. For Price, part of that time away included learning to manage his impatience. It was common during his rehab updates to hear how frustrating the slog of a DL lifestyle was for him. Yes, he maintained a presence during homestands while away: Standing on the dugouts top step, offering vocal and visible support to other members of the Rays staff, trying to remain as much a part of the process as he could. But the experience fell short of digging into the mound, breathing the game, knowing that his performance influenced his teams own. There was a void. Now, that absence is filled. Hes the anchor of the staff, Rays third baseman Evan Longoria said. Hes the guy that everybody on the staff looks to if were in a little bit of a slide. When he pitches like he did today, they want to follow suit. They want to have that battle within and pitch better than one another. That is part of what was missing with Price gone. His edge. His competitive fire. It would be unfair to say Price ever lost either quality before the injury, but perhaps his time away allowed him to reconnect with both. You just get that mental break, Price told FOX Sports Florida about his time away. I didnt have to talk to media three times a week. Youre not out there in all those pressure situations that we put ourselves in on the mound. That takes a lot out of you throughout a year. Just to have that little month and a half off, it helped. He looks recharged, after two starts in a new season for him. There is plenty of time to show this Post-DL Price is here to stay. You can follow Andrew Astleford on Twitter @aastleford or email him at aastleford@gmail.com.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Reports: Sale cut up throwback uniforms with knife in protest

WNBA withdraws fines for teams that protested gun violence

Ezekiel Elliott: ‘Evil NEVER prevails’

Orioles, Padres reportedly talking trades of Melvin Upton, Cashner

Le’Veon Bell reportedly missed ‘several’ drug tests


Report: Islanders looking at locations to build new arena

Top five takeaways from this year's NBA Summer League

NCAA rules that hanging out with hip-hop star Drake is violation

WATCH: Justin Bieber arm wrestle Sixers center Joel Embiid

RUMOR: Celtics sign Green, Zeller and two others to contract deals

Kevin Durant Thunder jerseys going for less than 50 cents in OKC

Solo not taking any chances with Zika virus while in Rio

Rays reportedly demanding Profar in pitching deal with Rangers

Facebook doesn’t know the difference between Liverpool and Arsenal

Report: Teams asked about Wade Davis, asking price very high

Aussie Rules Football player accidentally kicks, breaks own leg

Former Arkansas football assistant trolls Bobby Petrino on social media

Could Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw's injury hinder trade talks?

Spurs strike a new deal with NBA stalwart Manu Ginobli

George makes return to Team USA following leg injury

Why the Clippers shouldn't break up their big three

White Sox pay homage to Bo Jackson’s bat-breaking skills with bobblehead

Orioles affiliate pay tribute to David Bowie on their jerseys

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Effect of ban on Russia could span beyond the Olympic Games

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

QUIZ: Name every city to host the NBA All-Star Game

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

The top NHL free agents available as offseason winds down

WATCH: NBA jersey sponsors that need to happen

Expansion draft playing heavy hand in the current NHL offseason

WATCH: Pop & Timmy have a guys' night out

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker