Price takes fielding practice to tighten defense

Price takes fielding practice to tighten defense

KANSAS CITY -- David Price went the distance on the mound for the Tigers in Saturday night's 2-1 win over the Royals. He was back on the field at Kauffman Stadium long before many of his teammates had arrived on Sunday morning.

As bullpen catcher Jeff Kunkel hit him ground balls, Price was trying to shore up the one area of his game that nearly drove him crazy in his five-hitter on Saturday. Essentially, after his fielding error on a potential double-play grounder from Alex Gordon nearly fueled a Royals rally, he assigned himself pitchers fielding practice.

Price didn't want to wait until next week to take care of it. He wanted to do it now.

"I don't know what's going on with my defense right now," Price said after Saturday night's win. "I guess I thought it was hit a little bit harder, and then it didn't take the hop that I expected it to take and kind of just stayed. That's a play I've got to make. If I have to go down to one knee and just get an out at first, that's what I've got to do. That's not good."

Castellanos turns two

Considering Price's ability to rack up strikeouts -- he led the league with 271 last year -- fielding wouldn't seem to be a major aspect of his game. However, it plays a vital role in his goal of efficient outings. Getting outs in three pitches or fewer usually means outs on balls put in play. Even with more outs in the air than on the ground since the start of last season, some of those outs are going to be on balls he has to field.

Price has two errors this year -- last night's fielding miscue, and an errant throw at Cleveland on April 11. That's one more error than he had over his previous two seasons combined. It's a throwback to his seven errors over a two-year span in 2011 and '12.

"You're giving away extra outs," he said.

The more outs Price gives away, the more pitches he has to throw to get them back. He needed just three extra pitches on Saturday thanks to the double play Nick Castellanos turned on Mike Moustakas.

Still, it's not something Price wants to repeat.

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.