07/25/11 9:46 PM ET
Rays rotation poised to tie Major League record
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com
The 1913-1917 Washington Senators, led by Hall of Famer Walter Johnson, set the record.
"I think it's awesome," left-hander David Price said. "It's pretty special and good to be a part of something like that."
Jae Seo was the last pitcher 30 or older to start a game for the Rays when he did so against Seattle on his 30th birthday on May 24, 2007. Prior to that, the Rays had not started a pitcher 30 or older since 32-year-old Mark Hendrickson made a start against Atlanta on June 25, 2006.
In the 702 games since starting their streak, the Rays have used just 14 starters, which is the fewest in the Major Leagues. Each of the 14 was either drafted and developed by the Rays (eight) or acquired by trade (six).
James Shields has made the most starts during the streak with 142. Fittingly, the right-hander will be Wednesday night's starter when the Rays establish a new record.
"I think being in this organization, you're going to have a lot of young guys," Shields said. "But we've stuck to the same rotation pretty much throughout. Breaking a record like that is something pretty special. ... Being a part of it means a lot."
Shields made the point that not only have they put together a string of starts by young pitchers, they have won as a team for most of that stretch.
"This wouldn't mean as much to me if we lost 100 games every year," Shields said. "It wouldn't matter. But the fact that we've won two American League East titles and the fact we went to the World Series in 2008 in that span, it's pretty special. We have a special group of guys who have gone through this action."
On a lighter note, Price teased that since Shields turns 30 in December, the Rays should trade him. Shields smiled at the suggestion.
"I wouldn't go that far," Shields said. "I'm just glad to be here right now. I am 29 years old and hopefully I get to stop that streak next year."
Maddon content to stay out of trade talks
OAKLAND -- Joe Maddon is asked about possible trades daily, but in reality, the Rays manager is removed from such talks and likes it that way.
"Listen, I am the manager of the team, I am not the GM," Maddon said. "Whoever is out there on that particular day, it's my job to get the best out of that group. I love this group right here. I think this group out on the field can still win the division this year. ... We're still a team that can get into the playoffs this year. I feel very strongly about that. We've got a good run in us yet. I still don't think we've played our best baseball yet."
As for having a say in trades, Maddon allowed that he doesn't have a one and he doesn't want one.
"I mean, I am so into division of power [within the organization] and I do my job," Maddon said. "If asked my opinion, I give it. Totally, I give it. When you're a manager, the concern is that you're always going to like the guys [on the opposing teams] who do well against you. And they may not look that way to the rest of the league. And that's why we have scouts and that's why we analyze numbers and all the other things that look beyond the surface."
Desmond Jennings led off his first two games and reached base in four of his five plate appearances in each game, which made him the first Rays player to reach base at least four times in his first two games of the season.
Alex Cobb, who had to leave Sunday's game due to a blister on his right index finger, reported Monday that the area is healing nicely and he believes he will be able to make his next scheduled start Saturday in Seattle.
Right-hander Adam Russell cleared waivers and has been assigned to Triple-A Durham.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.