Roger Mooney covers the Tampa Bay Rays for The Tampa Tribune, TBO.com and News Channel 8. He has covered the Rays since their first season in 1998, including 11 years for the Bradenton Herald. Roger has also covered Florida, South Florida and Florida State football, the Bucs and the Lightning.
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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.