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BOS@TB: Price fans 10 over eight dominant frames

David Price will throw on the Rays' uniform and trot out to the mound at Tropicana Field on Wednesday, but there is no knowing if the start against the Brewers will be his last with the club and in front of the hometown crowd.

With the non-waiver Trade Deadline looming Thursday afternoon, Price will take the hill with the Rays surging and the rumors swirling.

"I'll just continue to be the same person on the field every day. This is what I love to do," Price said of the distractions. "I'm not going to let this stuff get me down. That's no fun. Just go out here and work hard. Try and give myself a chance to win every fifth day. And hopefully, it's in a Rays uniform in two starts."

Price has been behind the Rays' surge from 18 games below .500 in mid-June to where the team is now at one game below the mark. The results have been no coincidence, as Price has been one of baseball's top pitchers in recent weeks.

Price won his sixth consecutive start in his last trip to the mound against Boston, lasting eight innings for the eighth time in the last nine outings. Over his last 11 starts, Price has posted a 1.88 ERA and struck out 99 hitters.

His task Wednesday, in a game where the Rays could return to .500, will be a first-place Brewers team that ranks second in the National League in runs.

"I approach every team the same. There's no difference whether I'm facing a High A team or a big league All-Star team," Price said. "I'm going to have the same mindset and I'm going to go out there and throw as many strikes as I can and attack the zone. Obviously there's a time to expand. But I want to establish the zone early and get some quick outs, that's always appreciated."

The Brewers will counter with right-hander Yovani Gallardo, who is coming off an outing in which he tossed 7 2/3 scoreless innings in a loss. Gallardo has quality starts in 14 of 21 outings this season and has allowed four or more runs in the other seven.

"I felt good," Gallardo said after his last start. "I think I was able to keep the ball down to both sides of the plate. Had a pretty good curveball working. I was able to throw it for strikes and for putaway pitches whenever I needed."

Meanwhile, relief will be in sight for Price as the deadline inches closer with the prized lefty on the mound.

"Really, you think about it, a player has maybe come up through the Minor League system with that team and he's been there a few years, and all of a sudden he's thinking about, 'Wow, I may have to leave here,'" Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "That's hard on a player. I think a lot of guys will be relieved when Thursday is over."

Brewers: Gomez gets rest from center field
Carlos Gomez took a break from manning center field Tuesday and served as the Brewers' designated hitter instead, where he went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts in a 5-1 Brewers loss.

"He's feeling good. He tweaked his back a few days ago, but he's fine for now," Roenicke said. "He's always a concern the way he plays and how hard he swings, even in BP. So I think [it is worthwhile], him getting off his feet for a day. Especially here on the turf, it's a little different."

Rays: Hanigan's return pushed back
Catcher Ryan Hanigan's timetable to return to the field has been pushed back, manager Joe Maddon said Tuesday.

Hanigan, on the disabled list with a left oblique strain, was optimistic early on Tuesday, saying he hoped to play a rehab game during the week and be back in the lineup for this weekend's Angels series. But after taking batting practice, he still felt soreness in the oblique, and a return against the Angels is now unlikely.

"Doesn't look like that right now," Maddon said. "Just talked to [head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield] about that. He hit again today -- still a little bit sore but nothing awful. So Ronny wants to back off just a little bit. Get him back again active on Friday and Saturday, and then determine when he's gonna play at that point."

Worth noting
• In the last 12 games, the Rays' pitching staff has allowed 17 earned runs over 108 innings while racking up 123 strikeouts.

• The Brewers have played the Rays only eight times, their fewest amount of games against any Major League team. With Tuesday's loss, they are now 2-6 against the Rays.

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