Shields de­ter­mined to re­main ac­tive

Baltimore Sun - - BASEBALL -

White Sox right-han­der James Shields vowed Tues­day to stay in the ro­ta­tion de­spite back pain and asked for pa­tience from fans amid the worst sea­son of his ca­reer.

A day af­ter Sox man­ager Robin Ven­tura sug­gested Shields could be shut down, the 11-year veteran said a doc­tor’s visit pro­duced good news.

“Knock on wood, I haven’t missed a start my whole ca­reer and I don’t re­ally plan on it ei­ther,” Shields said. “It’s one of those things where I’m pretty sure I’ll be out there on Satur­day.”

Shields strug­gled early in the sea­son with the Padres, even al­low­ing Mets pitcher Barolo Colon’s first home run in May. He faced pub­lic crit­i­cism from Padres ex­ec­u­tive chair­man Ron Fowler, then was dealt to the White Sox on June 5.

Be­sides a six-start stretch in July when he had 1.71 ERA, Shields has been hit hard. He’s 3-10 with a 7.50 ERA in 17 starts with the Sox. He said he’s had off-and-on back pain.

“It’s been a crazy year, man,” Shields said. “Alot of things go­ing on — things that hap­pened in San Diego that weren’t un­der my con­trol, (then) come to a new team (and) prob­a­bly out of the gates tried to do too much.”

Shields was an All-Star with the Rays in 2011 and helped the Roy­als reach the World Se­ries in 2014. His nine straight 200in­ning sea­sons make up the ma­jors’ long­est ac­tive streak.

“I know he’s al­ways taken the ball,” Ven­tura said. “If he’s feeling healthy, he’s go­ing to go back out there and pitch.”

Shields is a com­bined 5-17 with a 6.05 ERA with the Padres and White Sox.

“Hope­fully the fans will stick with me a lit­tle bit, be­lieve in me and we can get bet­ter next year,” Shields said.

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