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Rays undecided on Game 1 starter

9/29/2011

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Tampa Bay Rays clubhouse attendants might have been packing things up for the winter just before being told to prepare for a celebration.

The Rays rallied from a 7-0 hole late in their game against the Yankees on Wednesday and won in 12 innings to clinch the AL wild card. Manager Joe Maddon said his team was a fatigued one that boarded the plane Thursday and arrived at Rangers Ballpark around 4:30 p.m.

"It really draws a lot out of you," Maddon said of the emotional swings of this last month's surge that culminated with the extra-inning clincher.

He means the coaching staff, too. Maddon headed straight from the team bus to a news conference and said he still had yet to name a starting pitcher for Game 1.

"It's difficult to bring everything together from the conclusion of last night to this current moment," Maddon said. "We celebrated. As we should have. We had some benign conversations on how to shape the roster. We're not even there yet."

Maddon said James Shields, who beat the Rangers twice recently, is not being considered to start Game 1. Shields would be ready to pitch Game 2 and with two off days he could pitch Game 5, if one is necessary. The Rays' options for Game 1 would appear to start with big right-hander Jeff Niemann, right-hander Wade Davis or even lefty rookie Matt Moore, who has 9.1 innings of major-league service under his belt.

"He's in that conversation at this point," Maddon said of Moore, a highly touted prospect. "Several guys are in that situation."