The Devil Rays have made some roster moves before today's game and still have one more to make. The Rays shut James Shields down yesterday for the rest of the season due to the fact that he has thrown 215 innings this season. The Rays also called up outfielder Justin Ruggiano today. Ruggiano should see time in the outfield with Carl Crawford most likely done for the season with a groin pull. The last move the Rays will make has not been announced yet, but look for Jeff Niemann or Jason Pridie to be the other addition.
Shields previous career high for innings thrown was 186 last season between Durham and Tampa. Shields is 5th in the league in the number of innings thrown behind Sabathia, Webb, Blanton, and Harang, but he has thrown in one less game. While some fans will be upset by the move because they want to see Shields out there, it was the right move to make. The Rays are not contending for anything and Shields health is very important for the future of this franchise. When its all said and done, his number of innings thrown in the regular season will still be up at the top and we have seen enough from him to know that he can be a dominant pitcher going forward.
Ruggiano is finally getting the call after having a dominating season in Durham all year. He ended his AAA season with a .309 average, 78 runs, 20 home runs, 73 rbi, and 26 stolen bases. Ruggiano, a former dodger prospect, has really broken out this season and could be a very nice addition to the outfield for the Rays. He is also a great fielder to go with his hitting. The Rays could use another outfielder to give some of the starters days off during the season, or let them DH while he plays the field for them. With Rocco's health up in the air and Dukes still having legal problems, Ruggiano may be the 4th best outfielder on the Rays. It will be interesting to see how much time he gets and how he will do with his time up with the big club.