August 4, 2014 at 1:00 am

David Price eager to contribute with Tuesday's first start

Monday was David Price's third full day with the Tigers. He saw Rick Porcello and Anibal Sanchez pitch well last weekend, which only solidified how impressed he is with the rotation he has joined. (Leon Halip / Getty Images)

New York — Every traded player eventually boils it to one phrase: They just want to contribute.

They don’t fully feel part of their new team until they’ve done something to help.

And so it is with David Price, who makes his Tigers debut Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium.

“That’s not unusual,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. “You kind of tiptoe into a new clubhouse where you don’t know many of the people, and you pull for the team while you’re sitting there.

“But once you get out on the field, are part of the game, and you’re contributing to your new team on the field, you feel more part of the team.”

Monday was Price’s third full day with the Tigers. He saw Rick Porcello and Anibal Sanchez pitch well last weekend, which only solidified how impressed he is with the rotation he has joined.

“That’s what I expected from those guys,” Price said. “They’ve been throwing the ball extremely well.”

Some of the newness of the trade has worn off because travel is the same no matter what team you are with. One getaway-day routine resembles the other — get on the bus, head to the airport, fly to the next city, check into the hotel.

So, Price has done that with the Tigers. He has a different locker in the visiting clubhouse at Yankee Stadium than he had with the Rays — but even he basically said, “So what?”

It still comes down to contributing — getting that first start out of the way and wanting it to be a good one.

“Having new teammates is the most different part of it,” Price said. “Getting to know everybody on a personal level. I just want to fit in, and they’ve made me feel welcome.

“I couldn’t ask for anything more in that respect. All the guys have treated me extremely well.”

Now it’s his turn to pick up with the Tigers where he left off with the Rays. In 12 starts since May 30, Price was 7-4 with a 2.03 ERA and a .209 opponents’ batting average.

It’s special to him to be pitching against the Yankees in his first Tigers start because the first hit Price gave up as a major leaguer was a home run to Derek Jeter in 2008.

Price also gave up Jeter’s 3,000th hit — a home run at Yankee Stadium in 2011.

But he enters the game 6-2 at Yankee Stadium and 10-5 against the Yankees. The only teams he’s beaten more are the Blue Jays (15 times) and Red Sox (11 times).

“But I’ll feel a lot better once I can contribute,” Price said. “Hopefully I can throw the ball the way I have the last two months.

“Then I’ll really feel like I’m part of it. I do now, but I want to get out there to try and help these guys get another victory.”

Does that mean the pressure is mounting? Not at all.

“But I would say even the most experienced players, when they go into a new environment, want to make a good impression,” Ausmus said. “I don’t know if it will affect his pitching, but he will certainly be aware he’s pitching for the Tigers and not the Tampa Bay Rays.”

Price seemed quite comfortable with the approaching debut.

“I’m not going to put any added pressure on myself,” he said. “These guys expect a lot from me, and so does our fan base, but I probably expect a lot more from myself than anybody else.

“I just want to have fun and throw my game.”

Which would be just fine with the Tigers.

tom.gage@detroitnews.com
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