Considering that he has seen his pitcher throw a bullpen session in a Vanderbilt football uniform -- helmet included -- Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon wasn’t shocked at all that star lefty David Price decided to hop on one of Boston’s Hubway bikes Thursday and go for a ride from the Rays' workout at Fenway back to the team hotel.
“It doesn't surprise me, anything that he does,” said Maddon, who has been known to ride his bike to home games. “Riding the bike's normally my thing, but that doesn't surprise me, anything that David does. I love his ways. He's a young man that's -- he's Peter Pan. He's going to be that way forever and I love that about him.
“I wish more of our guys could be that way. Anything David does, understand, should not surprise you, and if you're around him more, it would not surprise you.”
Price had been thinking about it since the Rays came to Boston in July, when he saw the Hubway bicycles in front of the Boston Public Library on the way back from dinner with teammate Chris Archer.
“I said, ‘I can't believe I just now saw this for the first time,' ” Price said. “I would've been riding bikes throughout the city, or at least to the field, if I knew that.”
Since that was the Rays' last regular-season run through Fenway, he figured he’d have to put off his pedaling until next season.
But with the Rays back in town for the American League Division Series, he jumped at the second chance.
Price picked out a bike from the rack on Yawkey and tweeted, “I’m doin it!!!! these can drivers better stay in their own lane!!! #sharetheroad”
For the most part, the ride went off without a hitch.
“Only one curb,” Price said. “No cars.”
Facing the Sox, he said, won’t be so smooth.
“You know what they're capable of doing,” said Price, who will start Game 2 Saturday. “Every single year, year in, year out, they are, they're going to be a postseason team, and you know you're going to have to come with your best.
“If you come with your B game, B-plus game, you have a pretty good chance to lose. So it heightens your awareness. You start feeling butterflies probably a day earlier than what you normally would. Pitching in this ballpark, pitching against that team, it makes you want it just a little bit more.”
Some other notes from the Rays side:
• Should a Game 4 be necessary, Jeremy Hellickson would be the Rays' starter. Hellickson went 12-10 this season with a 5.17 ERA, struggling mightily in August, when he went 0-4 and gave up 21 runs over five starts.
Maddon said there was a point where the 26-year-old righthander seemed to hit the wall.
"We normally give him a break during the season," Maddon said. "We weren't able to do that this year. He went wall to wall and then, I thought, ran out of gas. We set this moment to catch his breath and arm also.
"The last game wasn't as good, but we brought him back after giving him some rest. He pitched well, based on the fact his velocity came back. When the velocity is there, the discrepancy between that and his change-up is much greater and that's a good thing."
• Going back to his days as a bench coach for the Angels, Maddon had nothing but good things to say about Sox Game 2 starter John Lackey, largely because Lackey's World Series Game 7 win in 2002 had some personal benefits.
"I've known Lack for a long time," Maddon said. "John Lackey, we were teammates back with the Angels. And he helped pay for my daughter's wedding in 2002. So I was always grateful to John."
According to Lackey, Maddon was the coach he approached to get a feel for Angels manager Mike Scioscia.
"He and I used to go out for beers after the games," Maddon said.
After undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2011, Lackey made a striking turnaround this season. His 10-13 record belies the 161 strikeouts, 3.57 ERA, and 19 quality starts that led Sox manager John Farrell to call Lackey one of his most consistent arms this season.
Maddon could see the difference.
"The biggest difference I see is, obviously, he was hurt," Maddon said. "I knew something was wrong when he wasn't pitching well. He was definitely better than that. Now you're seeing him at full force, where he's well, because he's got all the weapons, plus the makeup to be as good as you're seeing right now. So it does not surprise me in the least that he's, well, pitching this good."