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James Shields' quest for the weird

Updated: March 29, 2011, 10:11 AM ET
By Buster Olney

A.J. Burnett is a pivotal figure for the Yankees, as he comes back from his second-half collapse in 2010, and Josh Beckett could upgrade the Red Sox rotation if he rediscovers greatness. The Tampa Bay Rays have a similar dynamic within their rotation: a veteran pitcher trying to find himself after a miserable finish to last season.

James Shields allowed a league-high 34 homers last season, and in the second half, opposing hitters posted an .877 OPS against him, which means that the average hitter performed like Evan Longoria against him after the All-Star break.

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