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Price will start Rays' opener

The SportsXchange

Even after a disappointing season, David Price remains the Tampa Bay Rays' ace.

The left-hander will start the Rays' season opener against the Toronto Blue Jays on March 31 at Tropicana Field.

"After many hours of discussion and back and forth among the staff and discussion on my Twitter account, we've decided to go with David Price as the Opening Day starter," manager Joe Maddon said Thursday with tongue in cheek.

Price, 28, won the American League Cy Young Award in 2012, but he took a step back in 2013. In 27 starts last year, Price went 10-8 with a 3.33 ERA. He also missed six weeks at midseason due to a triceps strain.

"Any time you're asked to throw the first game of the season for your club, it's a big day," Price said. "We take pride in it. It's a very special feeling for that Opening Day, whether you're pitching it or whether you're on the bench. I've been on the bench on Opening Day, and it still gives you goose bumps, the national anthem, everything that goes on.

"You know during Opening Day, it's very special for us and it kicks off our season. So it's always good to get the ball rolling, and I'm the one that got the nod, so I'm very fortunate for that."

In the offseason, rumors swirled that the Rays might trade Price to maximize his value well before he is due to become a free agent following the 2015 season. However, he stayed with Tampa Bay, and he will make his third Opening Day start.

"Could have (on another team), but I'm definitely pumped to be here." Price said.

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