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Notes: Shields reflects on season

Notes: Shields reflects on season

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ST. PETERSBURG -- James Shields received the news Tuesday he would not be pitching any more this season.

The Rays right-hander would have liked to continue -- and expressed as much to team management -- but was told his 215 innings were enough wear and tear on his body for a season. Manager Joe Maddon said he did not want Shields to exceed his single-season innings total any further. Shields' previous high was 186 innings in stints with Triple-A Durham and the Rays in 2006.

Being healthy and not being allowed to pitch has been strange for Shields.

"Right now, my body's been going through a little shock," Shields said. "But it's like any season. At the end of the season, your body's saying, 'Why aren't you pitching every fifth day?'

"It's tough for me to sit here and watch the games and know I'm not going to be pitching. I want to be out there. I want to be able to throw. But it's their decision. It is pretty tough, though."

Knowing that his season is over has allowed Shields the opportunity to reflect on his 2007 campaign.

"I'm very happy with the year I had," Shields said. "I made a lot more strides this year. I was a lot more consistent this year than I was [in 2006]. One of the main things I was really happy with was making all my starts. I stayed healthy. And pitching my 200 innings, that was huge for me and that goes along with being consistent for the whole year.

"One thing I'm happy with, I was able to keep my team in the ballgame, for the most part. I know I had a lot of quality starts. My whole goal is to keep my team in the ballgame. And if I keep my team in the ballgame, I'm going to win some games."

Rays and Ks: By striking out 17 Red Sox batters Friday night, Rays pitchers tied the club record for a single game set Sept. 12, 1999, vs. Oakland. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it marked the second time this season a team struck out 17 or more batters and lost. The Padres struck out 18 against the Diamondbacks on April 25 at Chase Field and lost, 3-2.

In addition, Tampa Bay hitters struck out 13 times Friday night for a combined total of 30 in the game, which was the most for any game involving the Rays.

Crawford and Harris still out: Carl Crawford and Brendan Harris were still out of the lineup Saturday night. Harris is suffering from a strained left shoulder, and Crawford has a strained left groin and hamstring.

Harris last played Monday, and Crawford has been out since Sunday.

"You always see your friends out there playing and you want to get out there," Crawford said. "But it's just one of those deals. What can you do? I hate to see me not finish the season, if that's what happens. But I'm in a situation I've never been in before, so I just have to wait and see."

Exit meetings: Maddon wants to communicate with his players when the season wraps, which means constant evaluations and letting players know where they stand.

"We want to build this tradition of meeting in Spring Training, lay out what we see as being strong points, weak points and then some specific goals for the year, and then at the end of the year, what part of the goals were met," Maddon said.

Maddon stressed that one thing they want to emphasize for next year will begin with offseason conditioning via routines for the players laid out by strength coach Kevin Barr and trainer Ron Porterfield.

"The one thing I really want to emphasize is that next year's winning is going to begin in this offseason," Maddon said. "We had some decent participation last offseason. Now I'm becoming more aware of personalities and what's going on, what I think it's going to take to get us to the next level."

Puttin' up the RBIs: Delmon Young has 10 RBIs in the last week, which has pushed his season total to 91. By surpassing the 90-RBI plateau, Young became the 22nd rookie in the last 50 years to accomplish the feat. Hideki Matsui became the last rookie to turn the trick when he had 108 RBIs in 2003. Mark McGwire (118, 1987) and Jose Canseco (117, 1986) are at the top of the list.

Up next: The Rays conclude their three-game series with the Red Sox on Sunday afternoon in a 1:40 ET contest at Tropicana Field. Right-hander Edwin Jackson will start for Tampa Bay and will be opposed by right-hander Tim Wakefield.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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