Archer still considers Price close friend

Rays' ace also will cherish at-bat vs. retiring Ortiz

Archer still considers Price close friend

BOSTON -- Rays ace Chris Archer addressed two high-profile Davids in the visitors' dugout at Fenway Park prior to Tuesday night's game against the Red Sox: Price and Ortiz.

Archer had the opportunity to be teammates with Price during his days with the Rays. They became friends and Price helped show Archer the way. Though Price has played for the Tigers and the Blue Jays since leaving the Rays via a deal at the non-waiver Trade Deadline in 2014, Archer allowed that it's still a little strange seeing Price in the Red Sox's dugout.

"It's weird to see him in red, for sure," said Archer with a smile. "The other teams he played for were in blue -- even a different shade of blue. But it's really weird to see him with a red glove and red trim on his jersey. But he's happy.

"I've talked to him and he's really happy here. You work your entire career to be able to choose what team you play for, and it looks like he did his research. He did his homework. It's a successful organization that has a mix of youth and veterans, and I think he's really happy here."

Archer's face lights up when talking about Price.

"We have a lot of things in common, and no matter what level of stardom he's achieved, he's always remained the same person," Archer said. "I really admire that, because it's very easy to have a little bit of success and change. I've known him for seven or eight years now and he's the exact same person that I met back then."

Archer also offered his opinion on what Price means to the Red Sox.

"He's a culture changer," Archer said. "He changes the expectations of everybody around him as far as the pitchers go. I don't know the impact he has on position players, other than he's the best cheerleader I've ever encountered, and I try to mirror that as well.

"But he'll change the way [Rick] Porcello, [Clay] Buchholz, the young lefties they have, all the guys. Change the way they look at what being successful in the Major Leagues means, and that can change the entire complexion of the organization."

Ironically, Archer and Ortiz are linked due to a verbal fracas between the two when Archer was sticking up for Price, who had taken exception to a home run Ortiz hit against him in the 2013 postseason. During the 2014 season, Big Papi homered off Archer and took his time rounding the bases, prompting Archer to make comments about Ortiz that prompted verbal sparring between the two.

Archer said that incident is in the past.

"I think that I didn't maybe understand him either," Archer said. "It wasn't just one-sided. That whole situation, I was defending a teammate who is now his teammate. So it's really weird, but I think last year we moved beyond all of that.

"It definitely gave a few of the networks something to talk about on some Wednesday games where they may not have had something else to talk about but that. That's all in the past, and I respect the career that man has had and I'm going to cherish every at-bat every time I get to face him this year."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.