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All quiet for Rays (so far) as trade deadline arrives

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Published:   |   Updated: March 18, 2013 at 10:19 PM
OAKLAND -

James Shields expects to make his scheduled start this evening for the Tampa Bay Rays. B.J. Upton expects to be behind Shields in center field.

And Rays manager Joe Maddon expects the crew that was in his clubhouse Monday to be the same crew that flies back to Tampa Bay after Wednesday's game with the A's.

In other words, Maddon, Shields and Upton expect today's 4 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline to pass without the Rays making a move.

"It's looking like more and more I'm going to stay here," Shields said Monday. "I'm not really too worried about it."

While executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and his staff continued to talk with teams Monday, they were not close to any deals that would either add or subtract from the team as it continues its pursuit of another trip to the postseason.

"They are extremely quiet," Maddon said. "There's nothing to think about for me right now. It's play and not think about anything, because it's probably going to look like this after the trade deadline."

Maddon said he doesn't even have a Plan B should Shields suddenly not be available to pitch tonight.

"I have not even thought about that, because I don't think (a trade is) going to happen," Maddon said.

Neither does Shields, who jokes with Upton every time they pass each other these days.

"You still here?"

"You still here?"

You just kind of laugh at it, kind of go with it," Shields said. "This is part of the business. This is the kind of stuff I signed up for, so it's not like I can complain about it. This is just the way it is in baseball. You kind of have to deal with it. I have the type of personality doesn't like to do things until it happens or say things until things happens. I'm an in the moment guy."

The Rays are usually not active at this time of the year, making only two July trades since 2008. They traded for pitcher Chad Qualls in 2010, and that move was made because Grant Balfour was injured the night before the deadline. The Rays traded for third baseman Ryan Roberts at the beginning of this road trip.

The Rays began play Monday night 2 ½ games behind the A's, who lead the American League Wild Card standings. They were two games behind the Angels, who entered the night as the second Wild Card team.

Given the fact the Rays were 10 ½ games behind the Red Sox at this point last season gives them hope that they are very much in the playoff race. In fact, Upton thinks the Rays can still win the American League East.

"There's still a lot of baseball left," he said.

Former Ray Jonny Gomes, now the A's DH, said he hopes Shields finishes his career in Tampa Bay. Gomes thinks Shields would be on the short list of Rays players honored some day – 10, 20 years from now – with a statue outside whatever ballpark they call home.

"I don't know about a statue," Shields said. "I don't know how good I would look in a statue."

But Shields, who was drafted in 2000 and reached the big leagues in 2006, said he would like to remain with the organization for his entire career.

"It seems like I've been here forever. That would be nice," Shields said. "I wouldn't mind being here for 20 years. That means I've been pitching pretty decent."


rmooney@tampatrib.com

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