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Price wants to fit in with Tigers, throw well

Lefty, who was acquired in a blockbuster deal, won't put extra pressure on himself

Price wants to fit in with Tigers, throw well play video for Price wants to fit in with Tigers, throw well

DETROIT -- David Price hit the golf course on his off-day Thursday morning not knowing whether he'd end the day still a Tampa Bay Ray. He did not consider the possibility he'd end up a Detroit Tiger until he received a text from Tigers reliever Joba Chamberlain.

"Joba texted me whenever I was playing golf that morning and said, 'Make sure you bring your sticks,'" Price said Saturday. "I was like, 'We already came to Detroit. ...' Then a couple hours later, I heard about it."

By that time, Price was at Tropicana Field, getting in his usual workout the day after what ended up being his last start as a Ray. He received a heads up from his agent about what was about to go down.

"My agent called me and told me, probably about 10-15 minutes before it happened, just said, 'Be ready, it's about to happen. It's probably going to be Detroit,'" Price said. "I just kind of sat there, took everything in."

He thought about the end of his Tampa Bay tenure. Then Price thought about the rotation he was joining in Detroit. From there, he just sat in silence and waited for the news to come out.

"I went home, just sat on the couch, sat there with the dogs and my girlfriend," he said. "We didn't have the TV on or anything. We were just relaxing. My phone let me know when it happened. It was a whirlwind. I'm excited."

Price arrived at Comerica Park on Saturday trying as best he can to make this business as usual. He threw his usual between-starts bullpen session with Tigers pitching coach Jeff Jones watching.

It's the same thing he always does between starts, but the feeling was different. The ballpark was empty, but the nerves were starting.

"I mean, my legs were shaking in my bullpen," Price said. "It's all new. I don't care if you have 50 people in the stands or 50,000. It's going to be new.

"I want to fit in. I want to throw well, first and foremost for these guys, definitely for the city of Detroit and the packed houses in here in Comerica. It'll be different, it'll be new and I'm looking forward to it."

Price will get a couple starts on the road before he takes the mound here in a Tigers jersey. His Tigers debut will be Tuesday at Yankee Stadium against a New York team he knows all too well as division rivals for the past six-plus seasons. He'll then get another former American League East foe, the Blue Jays, next Sunday in Toronto.

That puts him on track to make his Detroit debut Aug. 15 against the Mariners. The first hitter he faces that night could be Austin Jackson, one of the players the Tigers traded to get Price -- as if he needed any reminder about the deal.

Price knows the expectations the Tigers face, and he knows the expectations the Tigers have for him. It's not something he wants to worry about.

Pressure, Price said more than once in his 20-minute session with Detroit media, is perceived.

"It does add a little bit of pressure," he said, "but in Tampa I was looked at as the difference-maker as well -- not only the difference-maker, but just the leader of the staff. This staff, there's five leaders, I feel like, with the way that these guys are throwing the baseball. I guess if Rick Porcello is our five, that's pretty remarkable, the way he's thrown the ball this year as well.

"I don't add any extra pressure on myself. Like I said before, pressure is perceived. If I can go out there, first and foremost, I want to have fun on the baseball field. Whenever you lose sight of that, it really turns into a job, and then it's not a whole lot of fun even if you are throwing the ball well. I want to go out there and have fun, enjoy my teammates, enjoy the environment, just help this team win."

As for his potential free agency at the end of next season, and his long-term future, that's a matter for another day.

"I have no idea, to be honest," Price said about when he'd look at his contract situation. "I try to focus on the now. Whenever you focus on six months from now or 18 months from now, that means you're not focusing on what you're trying to do right now. And what I'm trying to do right now, I've said before, in between my starts to be the best teammate I can be, and whenever it's my turn to pitch, go out there and pitch as deep into the game as I can and give these guys a good chance to win.

"That's what I'm focusing on right now. That's been my mindset ever since I got here. It's not worrying about free agency or what all's going on with that. I want to focus in on right now, on the Detroit Tigers, on my teammates, and just give these guys a chance to win every fifth day."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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