Next start for Price will be Game 1 of ALDS

Left-hander won't pitch in Blue Jays' remaining regular-season games

Next start for Price will be Game 1 of ALDS

BALTIMORE -- The Blue Jays have decided to rest David Price in preparation for Game 1 of the American League Division Series instead of having him make another regular-season start.

Price was originally scheduled to pitch in the series finale against Baltimore on Thursday afternoon. That plan changed Wednesday when Toronto clinched the AL East for the first time since 1993.

Toronto's No. 1 starter will instead pitch in a simulated game on Friday afternoon against shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who will be facing live pitching for the first time since he sustained a cracked left shoulder blade on Sept. 12. Price's first outing of the postseason will be on Thursday, Oct. 8.

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"We said if we clinched [Wednesday] I wasn't going to pitch [Thursday]," Price said. "They wanted me to throw just because of personal awards, and I could care less about those, so it's that point of the season where if you could get an extra couple of days, you'll take it."

Price is one of the front runners to win the American League Cy Young Award, with his main competition coming from Houston left-hander Dallas Keuchel. Price finishes his regular season with an 18-5 record, a 2.45 ERA, a 1.076 WHIP and 225 strikeouts in 220 1/3 innings. Keuchel, who will start Friday, has a 19-8 record, a 2.47 ERA, a 1.009 WHIP and 213 strikeouts in 226 innings.

The approach Price is taking to this postseason is different than those he has taken in the past because of the Blue Jays' position and his spot in the rotation. Last year, in Detroit, he was the Game 3 starter of the ALDS; in 2013, he needed to pitch in a play-in game for Tampa Bay.

"I've thrown in the last couple of games in years before," Price said. "I threw 162 last year in Detroit, Game 163 the year before in Texas, so it's a little different, but it's alright, it's still baseball."

Left-hander Mark Buehrle will start Friday's series opener against the Rays. He is 8 2/3 innings shy of reaching the 200-inning plateau for the 15th consecutive year, which has only been done by Warren Spahn, Don Sutton and Gaylord Perry.

Right-hander Marco Estrada is scheduled to make his final start of the regular season on Saturday. Toronto has yet to announce a starter for Sunday's finale, but Blue Jays manager John Gibbons mentioned right-hander Drew Hutchison as one possibility whom the team is considering.

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.