08/30/11 8:48 PM ET
Canzler named International League MVP
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com
"That's outstanding," said Rays manager Joe Maddon. "I know he's had a great season. I'm very happy for him."
Canzler, 25, is the 15th league MVP in the history of the Rays' organization and the fifth Durham player to win the award in its 14 seasons as a Tampa Bay affiliate. Canzler joins previous winners Dan Johnson (2010), Kevin Witt ('06), Toby Hall ('01) and Steve Cox (1999).
The Hazleton, Pa., native signed with the Rays as a Minor League free agent on Nov. 19 and had not played above the Double-A level in his seven seasons in the Cubs' organization.
Canzler is hitting .312 with 18 home runs and 79 RBIs. He leads the International League with 40 doubles, 61 extra-base hits, 77 runs scored, 241 total bases, .533 slugging percentage and ranks third with a .399 on-base percentage. He has appeared in 125 games, spending time at third base, right field, left field, first base and designated hitter.
"[Canzler is] really is a solid young man and he's a good baseball player," Maddon said. "I'm very happy for him. ... Hopefully he'll get a chance to play in the big leagues at some point, too."
Shields takes pride in surpassing 200 innings
ARLINGTON -- James Shields surpassed the 200 innings mark for the fifth consecutive season when he pitched his 10th complete game of the season Friday night against the Blue Jays, giving him 201 for the season.
"I want to try and get to 240 [innings]," Shields said. "I think 240 is realistic. I'd definitely be happy with 240. One of my goals was to hit 220 innings."
In 2009, Shields came close to reaching 220 frames when he pitched 219 2/3 innings.
"I was one out away from doing it," Shields said.
Shields' goal is to reach 200 innings every season.
"[Reaching 200 innings] is real important," Shields said. "I believe a lot of pitchers pride themselves on staying healthy and being an innings eater. I know strikeouts are big and wins are huge, but I know staying healthy and going deep into the games is a big thing for a starter."
Shields noted that pitching complete games "is something you can't really set a goal for doing every year."
"If you want to be realistic about it, the 10 complete games, that's phenomenal, that's unbelievable," Shields said. "[But] what I'm most proud about is staying healthy all season long and throwing 200 innings. That's something I've prided myself on ever since I had surgery in 2002. I never want to go back to that place again where I'm hurt and having surgery."
Shields said he always sets out to outdo himself every year in some way.
"Last year was a down year for me -- I had 203 1/3," Shields said. "I really don't want to cut it that close. I wanted more quality starts this year."
When asked about several keys to his success this season, Shields pointed to his curveball.
"I know I'm throwing a lot of them for strikes when I want to," Shields said. "Obviously I've been locating my fastball better this year. With my fastball down in the zone, I can work my other pitches off of that."
Manager Joe Maddon said the September callups could begin while the team is in Texas. "I have an idea who one [player] will be," Maddon said. "It could be as many as three and as little as one." Maddon said he will likely have that information Wednesday.
According to the ESPN Home Run tracker website, the home run hit by Sean Rodriguez against Toronto's Brandon Morrow on Sunday traveled at a speed of 122.2 mph, the fastest speed registered this season.
Rosters were announced Tuesday for the Arizona Fall League. Rays players participating will play for the Surprise Saguaros in Surprise, Ariz., where Double-A Montgomery manager Billy Gardner Jr. will serve as manager. Outfielder Mikie Mahtook (second selection and 31st overall in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft) heads the list of Tampa Bay players playing in the league. The others are right-hander Shane Dyer; right-hander Marquis Fleming; left-hander Adam Liberatore; right-hander Kirby Yates; shortstop Tim Beckham; and second baseman Tyler Bortnick.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.