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Tampa Bay Rays starter James Shields bummed he misses out on facing Yankees

NEW YORK — RHP James Shields was disappointed Sunday's game was rained out because he had been pitching well overall, especially his past two starts against the Yankees, and felt the Rays had a good chance to win the series.

"I was ready to go," Shields said. "I feel really good right now, and I wanted to face these guys."

His consolation prize is to start Tuesday's opener in the day-night doubleheader in Boston (where he is 1-7, 7.71 in eight starts) as the Rays remixed their rotation after the postponement.

Shields will replace RHP Wade Davis, who was bumped back to Friday's home game against Seattle. RHP Jeff Niemann, who is 5-0, 1.65 in his past seven starts, will work Tuesday's nightcap, and LHP David Price will face the Red Sox on Wednesday. With an off day today and another Thursday, the Rays won't need any more than five starters.

"We don't want to skip either (Shields or Price), and Niemann's been kind of a hot hand lately, so it just makes sense to go that way," manager Joe Maddon said.

No makeup date for the rainout was announced, but the Rays are expecting to play a day-night doubleheader either Sept. 20 or 21. They have a previous rainout (July 8) to be made up Sept. 22, so with those four games in New York and the last three of the season at home, they play seven of their final 10 against the Yankees.

IDLE TIME: While having Sunday and Monday off allows the Rays to have their bullpen at full strength for the doubleheader, Maddon said the extra time off wasn't much of a benefit. "One day's plenty," he said. "You don't need all this extra time right now, but Mother Nature said you get two days off."

DRAFT BREEZE: The Rays expect negotiations with No. 1 draft choice RHP Taylor Guerrieri, the 24th overall pick who has an offer from South Carolina, to go right up until tonight's midnight deadline. And it could be the same with three other unsigned top picks: No. 31 OF Mikie Mahtook (return to LSU), No. 41 3B Tyler Goeddel (go to UCLA) and No. 59 LHP Grayson Garvin (return to Vanderbilt).

Executive VP Andrew Friedman said it's more a question of whether the players want to play pro ball than what the club is offering. For whichever players they don't sign, the Rays get a compensation pick in next year's draft at the same spot.

"What we're prepared to do now (financially) is not any different than what we were prepared to do a month ago, but for whatever reason things tend to gravitate toward the deadline," Friedman said.

"I'm very confident that the guys that really want to go out and play professionally that we'll sign and get them out there playing. And the guys that don't, we'll respectfully part ways, and we'll use that same slot compensation next year to go get someone that wants to go out and play professionally."

MISCELLANY: SS Reid Brignac was also disappointed with the rainout since he was scheduled for his first start since being called back up from the minors last week. … Fox dropped the Rays from two 4:10 p.m. national broadcasts, so Saturday's game with Seattle has been moved to 7:10 (with Sun Sports covering) and the Sept. 3 game against Baltimore to 6:10 (with no TV coverage).

Tampa Bay Rays starter James Shields bummed he misses out on facing Yankees 08/14/11 [Last modified: Sunday, August 14, 2011 9:37pm]
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