ST. PETERSBURG -- Two-hundred innings in a season remains one of the most endearing accomplishments any Major League pitcher can achieve.
Last season the Rays had three of their starters surpass 200 innings: James Shields, David Price and Matt Garza.
Shields, who has four consecutive 200-inning seasons in his rearview mirror, is well on his way to chalking up another one this season. After Saturday night's start against Boston he had pitched 148 2/3 innings.
One of Shields' main goals at the beginning of every season is to pitch 200-plus innings.
"It's important to me," Shields said. "Two-hundred innings means you're healthy and you're getting your team to the late innings with a chance to win. And you're saving the bullpen."
Price is right behind Shields for the team lead in innings pitched this season with 135, putting him right on track for consecutive 200-inning seasons.
"People want somebody who can come in and eat up innings," Price said. "That's what Shields has done the last four years -- getting 200 innings that many years in a row is pretty impressive. It really helps out the team."
Both pitchers should make at least 13 more starts this season. Based on that premise, Shields would accrue 245 innings if he continues to average 7.43 innings per start and Price would log 223 innings if he maintains his 6.75 innings per game pace.
"Believe me that's a concern, too," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "That's just who they've been this year. Shieldsy's done it in a reasonable number of pitches. His average is about 105 or 106. David after Friday is like 109. I'd like to get that down to 107 or 108 by the end of the season. That would be great. Regardless of their innings pitched. Both have been relatively pitch efficient, especially Shieldsy."
Jeremy Hellickson and Wade Davis each have thrown 103 2/3 innings. So neither is likely to reach 200 innings this season, nor is Jeff Niemann, who missed time while on the disabled list. Every spring the starting staff's goal is to finish the season as a group with 1,000 innings.
"That's what we want to do," Price said. "That would be awesome to do."
Rays place catcher Lobaton on disabled list
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays placed catcher Jose Lobaton on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained left knee after Sunday's 16-inning, 1-0 loss to the Red Sox.
To fill in for Lobaton, Tampa Bay has recalled Robinson Chirinos from Triple-A Durham. The 27-year-old was hitting .265 with five homers and 22 RBIs before getting the call.
Chirinos was acquired in the offseason trade that sent Matt Garza to the Chicago Cubs.
Lobaton, 26, played in just three games since arriving from Durham on Friday. In that time, he went hitless in four at-bats and was called for catcher's interference late in Saturday's game.
He made his first start on Sunday night after making strides at the plate at Durham, where he hit .293 with eight homers and 31 RBIs to go along with an impressive .410 on-base percentage.
During Spring Training, manager Joe Maddon met with Lobaton multiple times to discuss with him some of the holes in his game -- his lack of patience at the plate, among other things.
Lobaton didn't put his head down. He went to work.
"I tried to get more patient at the plate," he said. "I tried to get walks because I know the team likes walks. I said, 'I'm going to try to play how the team wants.'"
Outfielder Matt Joyce was not in the lineup for Sunday's game because of a sore right knee. He fouled a ball off that knee in Saturday's game but continued to play. Manager Joe Maddon did not rule out the possibility of sticking Joyce in for a pinch-hit situation Sunday.
Entering Sunday's game, B.J. Upton was batting .349 with seven homers and 18 RBIs in his past 17 games.
On Saturday, Rays first baseman Casey Kotchman committed an error, ending a streak of 102 games without a fielding blunder.
Bill Chastain is a reporter and Anthony Chiang is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.