by Steve Carney
The Tampa Bay Rays had an early practice Monday at their Spring Training complex in Port Charlotte, which included the first session of live batting practice thrown by pitchers on the mound.
Among the pitchers throwing live BP were David Price, Jeff Niemann and Roberto Hernandez.
Manager Joe Maddon said he was impressed by Niemann.
"I thought he looked really sharp," Maddon said afterward. "Free and easy. Threw the ball where he wanted to. I thought he looked really good. He stood out to me."
Both Price and Hernandez had the opportunity to throw to top prospect Wil Myers, though the outfielder did not take a swing by design.
"I never swing on the first day," Myers explained. "I didn't want to swing at any today. I just wanted to get my foot down today and see a few pitches."
Price said he has no compassion for hitters in the chilly weather that's taken over Port Charlotte the last couple of days.
"Some of the guys are out there gangster hacking, and some guys get mad at us for throwing inside," the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner said.
He added jokingly, "I'm about to put a bounty on the first position player hit. It's $100 from me, as long as it isn't [Evan Longoria]."
PERALTA BACK ON THE MOUND: Reliever Joel Peralta, who has missed most of the first week of camp due to neck stiffness, returned to pitching today, throwing a bullpen session. He will likely throw another bullpen session Wednesday.
FOR TUESDAY: The team will have a second round of live BP on Tuesday with all hitters getting an opportunity to face live pitching from the mound. Practice will run from 10:00 until 1:00.