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David Price: I'm not cheating, that's pain killer on my pitching elbow

Tampa Bay Rays pitcher David Price, long speculated to be eminently traded, created a stir on the internet overnight during and after his victory over the Detroit Tigers on ESPN.

The former Cy Young Award winner was photographed with some yellowish-red colored goo on his pitching elbow which set internet sleuths to thinking up theories about Price doctoring the baseball.

In this tightly-connected world, Price tried to put an end to the hub-bub, typing up an explanation overnight. He wasn't cheating, he tweeted. The substance on his pitching elbow was a topical pain reliever called Red Hot.

Ah, well that explains it.

Wait... What? Topical pain reliever all over his pitching elbow. That makes me nervous.

I'm sure that over the course of a season a major league pitcher develops some normal soreness. But Price's arm looked like it had about half a gallon of that stuff on there. I was already nervous about a potential trade for Price because of reports out of Tampa that his velocity has been inconsistent this season. It's at least somewhat unusual to see a major league pitcher on the mound slathered in the equivalent of Ben Gay.

Putting so much pain reliever on his elbow sure makes it seem like Price is having a serious amount of elbow discomfort. I'd hate to think that such an important joint is being held together with bailing wire and duct tape.

I worry about a potential St. Louis Cardinals deal for Price because of history. Although he's a different type of pitcher than Mark Mulder, his career is similar: He's a young man of 28 and is considered to be perhaps the best lefty starter in the American League. But... he's thrown a TON of pitches to this point in his career, logging about 1,100 innings of work over the past six seasons, and he seems likely for an eventual injury breakdown.

If anything I am more concerned about Price, who missed time in 2013 thanks to injury, than I was about Mulder when the Redbirds traded for him a decade ago because Price throws so much harder.

Several years of David Price pitching at his current level would be a wonderful thing. But watching a desperately needed pitcher sit on the sidelines while he tries to get healthy as the season's clock dwindles away... not so much. Unfortunately, you never know which version you're going to get because of the destructive power of pitching on the human arm.

In unrelated Price news:

- The Cincinnati Reds media following freaked out over the weekend when Joey Votto's locker seemed too clean for their liking. They instantly started to speculate that Votto had been traded to the Rays for Price. Not sure of the logic behind that one. Sure, it would be great for the Reds not only to trade for the best pitcher right now in the Junior Circuit but also to keep Price out of St. Louis. But what's in it for Tampa?

The only reason the Rays are pondering a deal involving Price is because they can't afford to keep him. So why would it be a good idea to trade for a .255-hitting first baseman with six home runs who is in the first year of a 10-year, $225-million contract? Besides, word is that Votto, who has a quad injury, is headed for the disabled list.