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Goal for rotation: 1,000 innings

Posted Feb 23, 2010 by Tribune Sports

Updated Feb 23, 2010 at 07:56 PM

PORT CHARLOTTE - Rays manager Joe Maddon has set a goal for his starting rotation this season: 1,000 innings pitched.

That’s a lot, but the number is hardly unachievable. Last year, the Rays young starting rotation worked 970 innings, which tied the White Sox’ starters for most in the American League.

“If there’ sone kind of a goal, I’m not going to say it too often, but it’s to see this group 1,000 innings,” Maddon said Tuesday. “That’s a nice realistic goal just based on doing your work, your training, staying together with your weights, exercises, etc. If they can stay with that, these guys are capable of all that.”

The Rays used seven different starting pitchers last year, the fewest in the majors and the fewest in club history. Tampa Bay starters threw the most pitches in the majors (16,074), and the bullpen tossed the second fewest pitches (7,614) behind St. Louis.

The Rays figure to go into the season with five starters at age 28 or younger - James Shields (28), Jeff Niemann (27 on Feb. 28), Matt Garza (26), David Price (24), Wade Davis (24).

Maddon said he didn’t “want to subtract” former Andy Sonnanstine (27 on March 18) is a candidate for the rotation and noted that prospect Jeremy Hellickson (23 on April 8) is on his way.

- Tony Fabrizio

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