TORONTO — Asked about his baseball shoe, David Price listed off its attributes like a luxury sports car.
“Custom Jordan. PE 4. PE, pretty sure that stands for players’ edition. Could be wrong but I think that’s right. It’s my playoff cleat from Michael. So thanks Mike.”
The blue shoe was hard to miss. First of all it’s a size 13 1/2. And it was holding up an emoji-like picture of Price and his dog Astro on the podium in the bowels of the Rogers Centre.
The six-foot-six 210-pound Blue Jays ace brought props when he met the media Wednesday on the eve of his Game 1 start against the Texas Rangers in the American League Division Series.
“Who’s more excited for the playoffs: You or Astro?” Price was asked straight off the bat.
“Astro, he gets pretty giddy around this time of the year. But me. I mean this is why we play the game. This is why you’re putting in work,” Price replied.
Astro, a French bulldog in real life, and Jordan shoes have been familiar themes on Price’s active social media pipeline. The lanky pitcher love his dog and his kicks.
Price, who has 660,000 followers on Twitter, shared via social media Wednesday that he had an eight-minute phone conversation with actor Charlie Sheen, who has tweeted his support for the Jays.
“What a pleasant surprise…haha my stomach hurts from laughing!! #winning,” tweeted Price.
Price will be pitching on 11 days rest when he faces Rangers right-hander Yovani Gallardo. Other than simulated game action, he has not pitched in a real game since Sept. 26 in Tampa.
“I feel good. The dimensions of the mound and 60 feet six inches doesn’t change, it’s still the same thing,” he said.
Toronto manager John Gibbons says Price was given a choice if he wanted to pitch or rest for the playoffs. Another start might have added to his Cy Young credentials, after all.
“He said ‘I don’t worry about individual awards,'” Gibbons related.
“Which showed me something too,” he added.
Price (18-5 over the season) has made a difference on and of the pitch since coming over from Detroit at the trade deadline in late July. He is 9-1 with a 2.30 earned-run average as a Blue Jay.
“For a guy who throws so hard, he still locates,” said Gibbons. “That’s really what separates the elite guys from the average guys.”
Away from the field, Price has become a favourite in the Jays’ locker-room.
The 30-year-old is a big kid, in many ways. He has been responsible for some of the toys in the clubhouse, not to mention the ever-present blue robes with the Blue Jays logo and player’s name on them.
“He fit in from Day 1. It was like he had been here for years,” said Gibbons.
Price, who will become a free agent after the season, says he makes a point of looking after his teammates. And being himself.
“Just don’t change. That’s one of my sayings,” he told reporters. “Times change but I don’t.
“I don’t care what team I’m on, I want to conduct myself in that locker-room, in the dugout and out there on the field, the way that I always have. And I know if I can show my teammates that I’m here for them every single day, especially on the days that I’m not pitching, I know that they will respond to that well and they’ll have my back as well.”
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Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press