Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Rays' James Shields to alter routine

BALTIMORE — RHP James Shields is going to try a few things differently today.

Confounded as much as anyone over his lack of success on the road compared with Tropicana Field, he's going to come to Camden Yards a half-hour earlier, get ready a little sooner, maybe sit in the hot tub for a while and try a few other things as if he were pitching at home. His between-starts work is pretty standard, so he's looking more closely at his day-of-game routine.

"There's no doubt about it. I want to do better on the road," Shields said. "I'm not going to sit here and beat my brains over it. It's one of those things where I'm going to try to focus in a little harder and try to get a better routine on the road."

With reason, given a severe discrepancy in his career numbers:

At home: 20-8, 3.23 ERA.

On the road: 12-17, 4.89 ERA.

Manager Joe Maddon wasn't sure Shields needed to do that much differently.

"I believe there's just a comfort zone in pitching at home. I don't know that it's so much the routine," Maddon said. "When a guy's as structured as he is and as organized as he is and does his work as diligently as he does, I don't know why a change in routine is going to necessarily help.

"I just think as he becomes more experienced pitching away from home, it's going to get better — period."

SECOND FIDDLE: Ben Zobrist has been impressive enough in the outfield — and has shown enough power— that Maddon said he could eventually become a corner outfielder.

And though Maddon values Zobrist's versatility to play seven positions, he said another possibility would be as a regular second baseman.

"That's not impossible either," he said.

And an interesting idea because the Rays would need a second baseman if they don't pick up Akinori Iwamura's 2010 option, which is at least $4.25 million.

GREENE NAMED: Quality assurance coach Todd Greene didn't say much after being one of four players featured in a New York Times story exploring "how pervasive steroids were in baseball from 2000 to 2004."

According to the report, Greene in 2001 contacted an anti-aging doctor, Ramon Scruggs, who has since been indicted on charges of writing prescriptions for steroids and human growth hormone. The report, based on accounts written by federal agents, said Greene said he contacted the doctor because "he felt he was at a critical point in his career and, being married and having two kids, he was concerned that he would not be able to make a living playing baseball."

Greene, who retired in 2007 and just joined the Rays, said he couldn't discuss details "because it's an ongoing investigation.''

Asked if he wanted to clarify if he received or used steroids, Greene said: "This was eight or nine years ago. I'm worried about my job with the Rays. I'm 100 percent dedicated to doing what I can to help this organization get back to where they were at last year. It's not about me. It's about me doing my job for the Rays now.''

PRICE CHECK: Indicative of how cautiously he will be handled, LHP David Price was limited to 74 pitches and 32/3 innings in his season debut at Triple-A Durham. Price allowed four hits, including a two-run homer by Orioles prospect Nolan Reimold, walked two and struck out four. … In other minor matters, Class A Bowling Green was no-hit by three Hickory pitchers in the first of two seven-inning games and went into the third of the nightcap before Jeremy Beckham singled.

UPTON UPDATE: Maddon said all B.J. Upton had to do was get through Saturday's final rehab game for Class A Charlotte without getting hurt then get safely to Tropicana Field for Monday's home opener and he'd be batting leadoff and playing centerfield. Upton went 3-for-4 with a walk and two stolen bases. When Upton returns, OF Matt Joyce is expected to be sent to Durham.

MISCELLANY: LHP Scott Kaz­mir received a warning letter from MLB and orders not to wear his custom Nike cleats because there was too much blue and not enough black and not use his tan or gray gloves because they were too light. … The Rays hadn't lost a series to the O's since Aug. 3-5, 2007, going 7-0-1 since. … C Shawn Riggans makes his second start today.

Tampa Bay Rays' James Shields to alter routine 04/11/09 [Last modified: Sunday, April 12, 2009 7:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Alex Faedo, Florida advance to face LSU in College World Series finals


    OMAHA, Neb. — Alex Faedo pitched three-hit ball for 71/3 innings in a second straight strong performance against TCU, and Florida moved to the College World Series finals with a 3-0 win Saturday night.

    Florida’s Austin Langworthy scores on a single by Mike Rivera in the second inning during a 3-0 victory over TCU.
  2. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect


    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  3. Rays journal: Jumbo Diaz falters after getting within a strike of ending rally

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday's game got away starting with a leadoff walk in the seventh inning by Rays LHP Jose Alvarado, who was brought in exclusively to face Baltimore's lefty-swinging Seth Smith.

    Rays reliever Jumbo Diaz wipes his face as he walks off the mound after the Orioles score four during the seventh inning to give them a 7-3 lead. Diaz was one strike away from working out of the jam before he allowed a two-run double and a two-run homer on back-to-back pitches.
  4. Rookie Jake Faria dissatisfied with performance in Rays' loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The rookie pitcher walked to his locker Saturday after tossing the fourth quality start in as many tries to begin his career. He held the potent Orioles bats to three runs and for six innings gave his team a chance to win.

    Orioles third baseman Manny Machado tags out the Rays’ Mallex Smith at third after a rundown in the first inning.
  5. Roger Mooney's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    It was refreshing to see RHP Jacob Faria take the blame after the loss even though he gave the Rays a chance to win. Too often young pitchers are encouraged by what they did and not necessarily the outcome, but Faria, making just his fourth big-league start, came to the Trop to win, didn't, and pointed the finger …