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Tampa Bay Rays starting pitchers may benefit from rainout

BOSTON — Having won two in a row, the Rays were eager to play on Wednesday.

But if they were going to get rained out, they were pleased that it was decided early and figured it could turn out to be a benefit to their pitchers.

RHP James Shields, who was to start Wednesday, instead will face the Twins tonight at home (where he is 31-22, 3.59 compared to 25-30, 5.04 on the road), and the other starters will move back a day, with David Price now pitching Monday's opener of the White Sox series.

"Actually it might be a good thing," manager Joe Maddon said. "David threw (116 pitches Tuesday) so this gives him an extra day. So it just kind of works out okay. I'm fine with all that."

The decision to call the game was made by 3:30, and with Continental unable to get the Rays an earlier plane, travel director Jeff Ziegler arranged for a Delta charter flight that could leave by 8:30 and get them home by around 11, a much better scenario than the usual 3-4 a.m. arrival following a night game in Boston.

"We were expecting to have to sit around a little longer, so that's kind of nice," Maddon said.

No makeup date was set, though Aug. 15, an off day for both teams the day before a scheduled two-game series at Fenway, seems a likely choice. The Rays also return Sept. 15-18.

SAM'S WORLD: OF Sam Fuld left Fenway saying the two games and three days of attention far surpassed anything the New Hampshire native and childhood Red Sox fan could have imagined for his first visit, from stepping on the hallowed field to hitting a home run around the Pesky Pole.

"There's so many memories to take away from these two days, it feels like two weeks to me," Fuld said. "I've seen tons of family and friends I haven't seen in a while, and they haven't seen me play in a long time. It's been really hectic but just a beautiful trip."

J.P. DUTY: LHP J.P. Howell looked good Wednesday in Port Charlotte in the first of three scheduled batting practice sessions before starting a minor-league rehab assignment leading to a planned mid May return from shoulder surgery.

"He ended up throwing 26 pitches because the 25th one was not a strike so he wanted to throw another pitch," Maddon said. "Everything was sharp. The word sharp was used a lot. Crispy fastball, breaking ball with good break, he looked good and without any kind of issues, so it was a good day."

Howell will throw again on Saturday at the Trop.

MISCELLANY: Price on Friday will receive his Players Choice Award as the 2010 Outstanding AL Pitcher, and injured 3B Evan Longoria on Saturday will be presented his Gold Glove. … All Rays will wear No. 42 on Friday in honor of Jackie Robinson. … There is a Tampa Chamber of Commerce lunch on Friday at the Marriott Waterside hotel (see tampachamber.com for info) and a St. Petersburg Area Chamber lunch on Tuesday at the Hilton in Carillon (see business.stpete.com).

Tampa Bay Rays starting pitchers may benefit from rainout 04/13/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 13, 2011 10:54pm]
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