Rays-Blue Jays Preview

(AP) - David Price was standing in front of the Toronto Blue Jays dugout, surrounded by cameras and reporters, when a voice piped up from the back.

''Um, excuse me,'' came the question. ''What will it be like to face your protégé tomorrow?''

Turning to see who was doing the talking, the left-hander deadpanned an answer, telling his questioner, ''I'm terrified, man.''

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That was the first of several funny exchanges in an impromptu interview with Price conducted by Tampa Bay Rays right-hander Chris Archer. Archer will pitch against Price, his former teammate and mentor, for the time first time Saturday at Rogers Centre.

More than a year after Price was traded by Tampa Bay, he remains popular with his former teammates. Price stopped by the Rays clubhouse for a visit before batting practice Friday.

''Everybody feels like they're best friends with him,'' Archer said. ''Hopefully, I can be that influence on some younger guys who aren't even here yet.''

Price repaid the compliment, calling Archer ''a good friend'' and ''great teammate.''

Archer is 12-12 with a 2.92 ERA.

''He's definitely made very big strides out there on the mound,'' Price said. ''It's fun to see. I think he's kind of scratching the surface of what he could be. He's going to be very good.''

Price was dealt to Detroit at the deadline in 2014, then was traded to Toronto on July 30. He is 8-1 with a 1.95 ERA in 10 starts for the AL East-leading Blue Jays and 17-5 with a 2.34 ERA overall.

''We've still got a lot of pitchers who still do things because Price did them,'' Rays manager Kevin Cash said. ''That's what they talk about, is David Price. I think that speaks volumes about him as a person, as a leader, as a pitcher. It certainly seems like they're following the right guy because he's a had a tremendous career so far.''

Archer still has vivid memories of his first meeting with Price. A high-schooler who'd been drafted by Cleveland in 2007, Archer was doing offseason workouts at Vanderbilt, where Price was an All-American. Because they shared the same agent, Archer was throwing to a young catcher named Josh Donaldson, now Toronto's star third baseman and an AL MVP candidate. Price came in to throw after Archer's session was done, and the right-hander introduced himself to the star lefty.

''I'll never forget it,'' Archer said. ''He's everything I wanted to be.''

Still, Archer and the Rays won't be taking it easy on Toronto, which is on the verge of ending a 22-year playoff drought.

''We are trying to play spoiler,'' Archer said.

Archer, though, is just 0-2 with a 4.03 ERA in four starts this month after walking a career high-tying five and tying a season low with three strikeouts in five innings of Tampa's 8-7 loss to Boston on Monday.

The Rays (75-79) had their three-game winning streak snapped with Friday's 5-3 loss to the Blue Jays (88-65), who picked up their 88th victory for the first time since 1998.

Donaldson hit his 40th homer and Jose Bautista also went deep for Toronto, which extended its division lead to four games after New York lost to the Chicago White Sox.

Donaldson joined Carlos Delgado (2000) and Shawn Green (1999) as the only Blue Jays with 40 homers and 40 doubles in a season.

''He's had a huge year, an MVP year,'' manager John Gibbons said.

Price is 10-1 with a 3.14 ERA in 14 career starts at Rogers Centre. He allowed five runs in a 10-2 loss to the Rays in his last start for the Tigers on July 28.