Right-hander James Shields, whose two complete-game victories highlighted the Rays' rise from the depths of the American League East, has been named AL Player of the Week for the period ending April 24. On April 19, Shields struck out nine in a 2-1 victory over the White Sox at Tropicana Field, in the process becoming the first Tampa Bay pitcher to reach 1,000 career innings. On April 24, Shields encored with a four-hitter in Rogers Centre for a 2-0 blanking of the Blue Jays, becoming the first Rays pitcher to toss consecutive complete games since Albie Lopez in 2000.
Shields had gone winless in nine straight starts until the week-opening gem against Chicago. This is the second weekly honor for the six-year veteran, who already ranks as Tampa Bay's all-time leader in wins (58), games started (156) and innings pitched (1,016). He was previously cited three years ago, for the week ending April 28, 2008. Also turning in noteworthy performances last week were David Price, Shields' lefty mound mate, who also went 2-0 and racked up 14 strikeouts in 16 innings; outfielders Jose Bautista (.474 average, 1.263 slugging percentage) of the Blue Jays, Curtis Granderson (.421) of the Yankees and Peter Bourjos (.458) of the Angels; Los Angeles right-hander Jered Weaver (1-0, with a complete game); Boston infielder Jed Lowrie (.400); Texas lefty C.J. Wilson (2-0, with 19 strikeouts in 14 innings); and Oakland's Brett Anderson (2-0, with an 0.60 ERA).
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.