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All-Stars: Joyce, Price, Shields

Posted Jul 3, 2011 by Joey Johnston

Updated Jul 3, 2011 at 12:30 PM

ST. PETERSBURG – Rays outfielder Matt Joyce said he wasn’t even thinking about the All-Star Game selections when he arrived at Tropicana Field this morning. That changed quickly when Rays manager Joe Maddon entered the trainers’ room with good news.

Joyce, a graduate of Armwood High School, is an American League All-Star. He was voted in by the players. Joyce said he hasn’t made an all-star team at any level since he played for North Brandon Little League, probably when he was about 13 or 14 years old.

Overall, the Rays have three All-Stars – pitchers James Shields and David Price, plus Joyce – for the July 12 All-Star Game at Chase Field in Phoenix, Ariz. All along, there was speculation that Shields would be Tampa Bay’s lone All-Star pick.

“It’s pretty impressive,’’ Maddon said. “All three make sense. All three are deserving.’’

Additionally, infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist is among five players who are contending for the AL team’s final spot in a vote by the fans.

For Joyce and Shields, it is the first All-Star Game selection. Price was last year’s All-Star Game starting pitcher.

Joyce, who began this season as a part-time player, is batting .302 with 11 home runs and 40 RBIs.

“I’m thrilled,’’ said Joyce, who already had made plans to stay in a beach condominium for the All-Star break. “I’m so excited. I can’t wait to get out there.’’

Shields (8-5, 2.45 ERA) and Price (8-6, 3.43) were picked by Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington, who heads the American League All-Stars because his team captured last season’s AL pennant.

Barring a change in Tampa Bay’s pitching rotation, though, Shields will be unable to pitch in the All-Star Game. He’s scheduled to start Tuesday night’s game at Minnesota, then next Sunday’s game against New York at Yankee Stadium, the final outing before baseball’s All-Star break. Shields can participate in all of the All-Star festivities, though. Price, scheduled to work Saturday’s game at Yankee Stadium, said he expects to pitch in the All-Star Game.

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