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Shields shut down



The Devil Rays decided James Shields has pitched enough and have shut down their most consistent starter for the rest of the season. Shields was scheduled to start Wednesday in Anaheim and against the Yankees next week.

"There's nothing wrong with him; we're just going truly based off innings pitched (215) and the number of pitches he's thrown this year,'' manager Joe Maddon said. "I just want to stop it right now. No other reason. He's fine. He's healthy. He could have pitched tomorrow; in a playoff situation we could have done that. ... It's just a gut feel on my part. I just think it's the right thing to do on my part.' '

LHP J.P. Howell will start Wednesday instead. Shields, 25, is 12-8 with a 3.85 ERA in 31 starts. He was not pleased that he won't get to make 32.

"I was pretty shocked,'' he said. "I'm not really too happy with the full decision, but it is what it is, and there's nothing I can really do about it. They told me the day before I started, which is kind of weird to me.''

Also, LF Carl Crawford remains sidelined and uncomfortable as a result of his left groin strain, and it seems less likely he will play again this season. The Rays are expected to call up another outfielder in time for Wedensday's game; Jason Pride and Justin Ruggiano seem the most likely candidates.

As for Tuesday's lineup, impressive Jorge Velandia gets another start at shortstop:

Iwamura, 3b
Norton, dh
Pena, 1b
Upton, cf
Young, rf
Harris, 2b
Gomes, lf
Navarro, c
Velandia, ss

[Last modified: Monday, December 21, 2009 12:32am]


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