PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- David Price had to leave Thursday's game against the Tigers an inning early due to a "towel" injury that left him with a stiff neck, which he doesn't believe to be serious.
The Rays left-hander went to the bench after finishing his second inning of work and began to dry off with a towel when the freakish incident occurred.
"I was just drying my head off in between innings after the second inning," said Price, holding his head especially still. "It's happened to me two times before, the towel kind of catches the back of my head and it pulls my neck forward and I just felt it a little bit in the back of my neck. I just want to be cautious with it."
Price described what occurred as having a spasm in his neck.
"Just a little pop then it spasms up, gets pretty tight, but I'll be all right," Price said. "Just being cautious right now."
Price had been scheduled to throw three innings in his second start of the spring, but he cut his outing short to receive treatment.
"I just got done doing a lot of treatment," Price said. "It's OK. The last [neck spasm] I had lasted two or three days."
Price has had other bouts with neck stiffness in the past.
"One time was a year ago, and [it took] four days [to get better]," Price said. "And one time was in September last year and I pitched with it in September last year. So it's all right."
Gone fishin': Maddon tabs coaches in his stead
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Normally Joe Maddon would have taken the road trip when the Rays had a split-squad day on their schedule, but he didn't do so on Thursday, when the Rays split up to play the Tigers in Port Charlotte and the Twins in Fort Myers.
The Rays' manager opted to stay at home because coaches Davey Martinez and Tom Foley, who are avid outdoorsmen, wanted to make the trip to facilitate a stop at Bass Pro Shops in Fort Myers.
"We're just going to look around," Martinez said. "Foley's got a gift card. We'll go look at the fishing section, the hunting section."
Maddon noted that for Foley and Martinez, such a shopping trip would be like a kid going to a toy store or for him going to the "Total Wine" store. Martinez concurred with that opinion.
"We could spend two hours in there," Martinez said.
Martinez smiled when asked about the most he had ever spent at Bass Pro Stores.
"I'd rather not say," he said.
So, dressed in their uniforms, Foley and Martinez drove to Fort Myers separately -- and well ahead of the bus.
Rodriguez to have sprained finger evaluated
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Rays manager Joe Maddon told reporters after Thursday's 8-1 loss to the Tigers that shortstop Sean Rodriguez had sprained his right index finger during the Rays' split-squad contest against the Twins in Fort Myers.
The play occurred when Rodriguez attempted to tag out a sliding baserunner. Maddon said that Rodriguez will be re-evaluated on Friday morning.
Beckham gains experience at second base
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Shortstop Tim Beckham played second base Wednesday in the Rays' win over the Yankees.
"We've been working at it just to try and give him a little more versatility," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "We often talk about with the guys who have played multiple positions in the past, you never know when something is going to open up, when there's a need.
"And if a guy's swinging the bat well, you want to be able to say, 'Our shortstop position is fine, but we might need some help at second base, or whatever. So we just wanted to expose him to something else."
Maddon said that infield coach Tom Foley liked Beckham a lot at second base.
"Even from the first day he messed with it," Maddon said. "So it was kind of an easy thing to do that. Because the way he went about turning a double play the first time, it was right. It was right the way he used his feet, so that was a pretty good indication he could do it."
While Beckham looked good at second, Maddon said he's still a shortstop.
"No, this guy's a shortstop," Maddon said. "I have really been impressed with his infield play, period. We had talked to him specifically about this at our meetings. Not that we don't believe that he can't play shortstop. No, that's not the point. We want to give you something else that you can do. And if you can, that makes you even more valuable down the line."
Contrary to reports, the Rays have not yet named their Opening Day starter. "We're going to talk to the guys tomorrow," said manager Joe Maddon, noting he will then reveal who will get the ball on April 6, when the Rays open against the Yankees at Tropicana Field in a 3:10 ET contest.
Luke Scott (right shoulder surgery) took live batting practice Thursday. Afterward he reported feeling fine physically before adding that his mechanics were off, which means he will not get his first action this spring for several days.
Evan Longoria (bruised right hand) took swings during a flip-toss session and will likely take live batting practice Friday.
Sam Fuld (right wrist) took live batting practice Thursday and is now ready to play. "Ready, able, of avail," Fuld said.
Matt Moore, Kyle Farnsworth and Brandon Gomes all threw during batting practice without incident.
Maddon on the "real clean" way that shortstop prospect Hak-Ju Lee fields ground balls: "There's no chrome on it. There's no flash about it. He just picks up ground balls and throws accurately to first base."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.