Shields determined to remain active
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.