James Shields Comments on Tyson Ross as Padres' Opening Day SP

Mike NorrisFeatured ColumnistFebruary 28, 2016

Sep 9, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres starting pitcher James Shields (33) pitches during the first inning against the Colorado Rockies at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The San Diego Padres passed over pitcher James Shields for Opening Day starting duties in favor of Tyson Ross, but Shields insisted it's not a huge deal.

According to Mike Cranston of the Associated Press (via Yahoo Sports), Shields took it in stride while speaking about the subject Saturday.

"I've been in this situation before," Shields said. "I think in 2011, David Price [in Tampa Bay] took my Opening Day start after three years. And I got it right back the next year."

Shields was 13-7 with a 3.91 ERA last season, his first in San Diego, while Ross was 10-12 with a 3.26 ERA.

First-year Padres manager Andy Green liked Shields' attitude, per Cranston.

"He handled it like a pro," Green said. "And he told Tyson, 'Hey, it's your job this year, but I'm coming back for it next year.' That's what you want to hear."

The 34-year-old Shields, who is 127-97 in his career, did see his stats dip last year, allowing the second-most home runs of his career (33). His 93 ERA+ was also lower than Ross' 112, according to Baseball-Reference.com.

James Shields Career Stats
2006Tampa Bay6-84.84124.210438
2007Tampa Bay12-83.85215.018436
2008Tampa Bay14-83.56215.016040
2009Tampa Bay11-24.14219.216752
2010Tampa Bay13-155.18203.118751
2011Tampa Bay16-122.82249.122565
2012Tampa Bay15-103.52227.222358
2013Kansas City13-93.15228.219668
2014Kansas City14-83.21227.018044
2015San Diego13-73.91202.121681

However, there is no reason to think this will hurt Shields. He has been a workhorse throughout his career, throwing at least 200 innings in each of the past nine seasons. 

"Shields might be baseball's best bet to be on the mound every five days," Cranston noted.

If anything, it will light a fire under the right-hander, and he'll come out ready the next day. It's possible that Green may even be using this to fuel Shields and make sure he is firing on all cylinders for his first start.