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Rays' rookie starters will finish out year

Rookie starters will finish year

BALTIMORE -- With an off-day on the horizon Monday, the Rays have not set their rotation past Sunday.

But don't expect a lot of change, particularly where the rookie pitchers are concerned.

Currently, the rotation includes rookies Jeff Niemann, Wade Davis and David Price, but Rays manager Joe Maddon doesn't believe any of them will be shut down before the end of the season.

"We're OK with all three right now," Maddon said. "They're all on the border, on the top side of the borderline, so we can, but we're not overtly concerned right now."

Davis has thrown a total of 168 1/3 innings, Niemann 165 2/3, and Price 144.

"This is the longest I've played a season in pro ball and I definitely want to finish it out," Niemann said. "A few more starts and you've got to grind through it."

Niemann started and took the loss against the Orioles Tuesday night. Afterward, Maddon said he thought Niemann's velocity was down a little. Niemann allowed that his velocity might have been affected by the number of innings he's thrown.

"Or it could have just been one of those days," Niemann said. "You can have them in April sometimes, when the ball just doesn't go. Hopefully, it will be back up next time out."

Davis said all that he knows about the Rays' plans for him the remainder of the season is that he's starting against the Orioles on Thursday night.

"I'm assuming I'll get a [few more starts] but everything is subject to change," Davis said. "So I'm going to go out there and see what I can do."

Despite pitching into September, Davis said he feels strong.

"Ever since the All-Star break I've felt stronger and stronger," Davis said. "I've been able to go over 100, 110 pitches and getting stronger over 100 pitches. I'm definitely ready to go as many as I can."

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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