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Rays notes: Shields, Price join exclusive company

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Published:   |   Updated: March 18, 2013 at 02:32 PM
BOSTON -

Tampa Bay RHP James Shields said he would like to take one of his jerseys and one from LHP David Price, cut them in half and sew them together so each jersey is a combination of the two. Shields said that might be the best way to commemorate Price and himself joining an exclusive 200-200 club.

The two Rays are just the seventh set of teammates to strike out 200 batters each in consecutive seasons.

"It means a lot to us," Shields said. "It's pretty special to do it with a guy like him. He's one of my best friends in the game of baseball. How hard we've worked over the past couple of years, it's been pretty amazing to watch."

They join the Dodgers' Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale (1962-65), the Diamondbacks' Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson (2001-02), the Angels' Nolan Ryan and Frank Tanana (1976-77), the A's Eddie Plank and Rube Waddell (1904-05), the Indians' Luis Tiant and Sam McDowell (1967-68) and the Tigers' Mickey Lolich and Joe Coleman (1971-73).

Price, who struck out 218 batters in 2011, struck out 13 in Tuesday's win to give him 201 for the season. Shields, who struck out 225 last season, has 202 this year.

"Being from L.A., I definitely loved Koufax and Drysdale. They're two of my favorite pitchers of all time," Shields said when asked if he had seen the list of dynamic duos. "Just to be named in the same category as them is pretty special. Me and Davy last night, we were like little kids. We were all giddy and congratulating each other on the good year."

Price's 13 strikeouts Tuesday put him in an even more exclusive club. He and Mike Mussina of the Yankees are the only pitchers since 1918 to strike out 13 without allowing a walk in a complete-game victory at Fenway Park.

Cy Price

Manager Joe Maddon said Price turned in a performance Tuesday that should earn him the American League Cy Young Award.

"I think right now it's a starting pitcher's award unless you really go over the top save-wise, and that has to be at least 50, I would say. Fifty-plus saves might get you in the conversation," Maddon said. "If we scored a couple of more runs maybe Fernando (Rodney) is pushing that number right now, but he's not, so I think he definitely deserves to be included, but I think David deserves the award."

Shields agreed.

"If you look at the overall numbers and you look at the kind of games that Dave's pitching this year and the way he carried us the entire first half of the season, it's been amazing to watch," he said. "I hope he gets it."

Molina out a few days

C Jose Molina was not available to play Wednesday night, one day after straining his right quad while running to first base while playing in his 17th consecutive game. Maddon said Molina should be able to return to the lineup over the weekend.

Molina has been one of the better hitters this month and Maddon said his work behind the plate — blocking balls in the dirt aside — has been excellent. That's mainly why Molina has played so many games. Maddon uses Molina as a late-inning defensive replacement on days when he doesn't start.

"It would be really great to get him back at some point," Maddon said.

Noteworthy

OF Sam Fuld (right hamstring strain) ran the bases Wednesday and pronounced himself fit enough to pinch-hit. He hopes to be able to play the field over the weekend. … LF Desmond Jennings was in right field Wednesday because he can cover more ground than OF Ben Francisco, who played left. … Maddon went with C Jose Lobaton over C Chris Gimenez on Wednesday because Lobaton has a better arm. … Wade Boggs was named the first-team third baseman on the all-Fenway team, announced before Wednesday's game. … Former Celtics great John Havlicek was sitting near the Rays dugout Tuesday night. He and Maddon talked between innings. "I invited him to spring training next year, full uniform, the whole works," Maddon said.

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