06/26/07 7:40 PM ET
Notes: Kline throws bullpen session
Rays' No. 2 Draft pick to begin career at Class A Columbus
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com
"I'll fly back home [to Mississippi] tomorrow, get my truck and drive down to Columbus and meet my team Thursday morning -- and we have a six-game road trip immediately," Kiline said. "My next week is going to be kind of hectic, but it's what I'm here for. It's going to be really cool and I can't wait to get there."
Kline said he talked to David Price, the Rays' No. 1 pick, on Monday. Kline squared off against Price at the beginning of the season when Mississippi played Vanderbilt. Price ended up as the winning pitcher in a 3-2 game.
"He threw 10 innings, so..." Kline smiled and tipped his hat.
Price talked to Kline following that game.
"He told me congratulations, that I pitched a heck of a game," Kline said. "It meant a lot to me then and means a lot more to me now. I wanted to be his teammate then because he sure was good, but even more now."
Kline was lifted in that game with one out in the ninth and the Rebels winning 2-1 with two runners on.
Price is "an awesome guy and I think we're going to become pretty good friends," Kline said.
Price did not tell Kline when he might sign with the Rays.
Kaz pitch count: Scott Kazmir threw 116 pitches on Friday night and has thrown 1,734 for the season. All season long, the 23-year-old left-hander has led, or ranked among the leaders, for number of pitches thrown; he is averaging 18.1 pitches per inning.
In Kazmir's past four starts he has thrown at least 114 pitches. High pitch counts, yes, but don't think the Rays aren't paying attention.
"I'm there every movement," manager Joe Maddon said. "I've really been paying attention to that. The threat would be to let him go 130 pitches."
Last season Kazmir threw 115 2/3 innings in the first half and only managed 29 innings in the second half after experiencing tightness in his left shoulder.
"He's pitched a lot between the 105 and 115 range and I'm really watching," Maddon said. "I don't see him struggle to throw the ball. I don't see that little extra effort at the end that I don't want to see. ... I'm looking when he's between 110 and 117, how's he doing it. Is there a relative ease to the way he's throwing the ball? To this point I'm saying, 'Yes.'"
About last night: Rays pitchers struck out a season-high 15 against the White Sox on Monday night, which was just the fourth time in franchise history the club has struck out 15-plus batters and the third time in a nine-inning game; the last time it occurred was May 20, 2004, against the Red Sox. Only once has the club struck out more batters, and that was Sept. 12, 1999, against Oakland.
Each White Sox hitter struck out at least once; Jim Thome struck out four times and Josh Fields struck out three times. The White Sox had not struck out that many times since July 9 against the Red Sox when they fanned 16 times.
Ironically, the game marked the third time this season a team had struck out 15-plus times in a game and still won.
Crawford countdown: Carl Crawford needs five hits to become the seventh active player in the Major Leagues to reach 900 hits before his 26th birthday. In addition, in reaching the 900-hit plateau, he will become the 23rd player since World War II to reach 900 hits before his 26th birthday. Players within reach include: Eddie Matthews (902 hits), George Brett (906), Richie Ashburn (916), Johnny Bench (922) -- all are Hall of Famers.
Down on the farm: At Triple-A Durham, Jeff Niemann is 8-4 with a 3.65 ERA and 85 strikeouts in 88 2/3 innings; he has walked just 32. Left-hander Jon Switzer is 0-0 with a 0.47 ERA in 15 appearances including 15 strikeouts in 19 1/3 innings. ... At Double-A Montgomery, last year's No. 1 pick, Evan Longoria, is hitting .292 with 17 home runs and 57 RBIs. Right-hander Chris Mason is 10-3 with a 2.59 ERA and 82 strikeouts in 94 innings.
Up next: The Rays will play the White Sox in the third game of their four-game series on Wednesday night in a 7:10 p.m. ET contest at Tropicana Field. Right-hander Andy Sonnanstine will start for the Rays and will be opposed by left-hander Mark Buehrle.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.