KANSAS CITY – Tampa Bay Rays RF Wil Myers and Kansas City Royals RHP James Shields were in the same stadium Monday, so naturally the pregame chatter surrounded "The Trade."
The Rays sent Shields, RHP Wade Davis and a player to be named later (INF Elliot Johnson) to the Royals in December 2012 for Myers, RHP Jake Odorizzi, LHP Mike Montgomery and 3B Patrick Leonard.
Shields is the ace of the Royals staff, while Davis serves as the set-up man in the bullpen. Myers was rookie of the year last season, Odorizzi is the Rays fifth starter, Montgomery (Triple A) and Leonard (Class A) are still prospects.
“I think it was good for both teams overall,” Shields said. “This clubhouse, our clubhouse, needed a little changeover here as far as the atmosphere and the camaraderie and the chemistry, and I think it worked out really well.”
The Rays like what they received from the trade.
“It helped Kansas City win right away,” Myers said. “I guess it helped the Rays. I don't know.”
Rays manager Joe Maddon knows.
“I think James is probably, I'm pretty certain, has brought a different perspective to their pitching in general, just the way he goes about his business and how he competes,” Maddon said. “I know he's been a force multiplier within that group. I know that. And Wade to a certain extent, I know he's done his job. But James is the guy that makes the difference there. Wil, on the other hand, we don't get to the playoffs last year without him and he wins the rookie of the year. They almost got to the playoffs last year based I think on the impetus provided by James, where as Wil helped us get over the hump last year and get to the playoffs.”
More on Myers
Myers is hoping the hoopla of his returning to Kansas City will die out quickly.
“I just want to treat as just another game,” he said, before Monday's game. “I don't want to do another press conference this year.”
Myers played here before, last August when the Rays returned for a makeup game.
“I feel more a part of the Rays now, especially just being in the big leagues with the Rays,” he said. “Obviously I had a good time with Kansas City for the three years I was (in the organization), but as far as a big league career, obviously, I feel more part of the Rays.”
Who's this guy?
The Rays get their first look at RHP Yordano Ventura Tuesday night, the Royals hard-throwing rookie who struck out 155 in 134 2/3 minor league innings in 2013.
Shields provided this scouting report: “This guy's got electric stuff. Stuff-wise he's one of the best I've ever seen. This guy throws 102 miles an hour. He's got an 86 mile an hour curve ball. He's got a really good changeup and he throws it with ease, like no effort. He's got a lot of things to learn as far as pitching goes. He's still young.”
Shields said during a spring training game against Texas, Elvis Andrus and Prince Fielder both stepped out of the box and laughed at how hard Ventura was throwing.
When told Ventura throws 102 mph, Maddon said, “Did he get a ticket for that? I'm curious to see it.”
Maddon's scouting report: “He's got a really good arm. A very good arm. I haven't broken him done yet, but the platitudes are being flung all over the place.”
RHP Juan Carlos Oviedo (right elbow) pitched a perfect inning Monday for Triple A Durham. He is scheduled to pitch another inning Tuesday night. Oviedo will likely return against the Yankees during the upcoming homestand.
RHP Jeremy Hellickson (right elbow) said he expects to pitch off the mound in Baltimore during one of the final two games of this trip.
3B Evan Longoria recorded his 203rd career double Monday and moved past B.J. Upton and into second place on the team's all-time list. Carl Crawford holds the record at 215 ... The Rays began play Monday fourth in the AL with 31 runs scored, despite being shut out twice ... At 4-3, the Rays matched their best start through seven games. They've done it six times.