Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 7/1/12
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. Pitching has kept the Tampa Bay Rays afloat this season. So it was only fitting Sunday that the staffs two biggest success stories were rewarded with a place on the American Leagues 2012 All-Star Game roster. David Price, bouncing back from a difficult 2011 campaign, earned his third consecutive All-Star cut. And Fernando Rodney, the Rays colorful new closer, made the All-Star team for the first time in his career. The results were revealed live on Sunday in a 1 p.m. broadcast on TBS, prior to Tampa Bays game against the Detroit Tigers at Tropicana Field. The 83rd annual Midsummer Classic will be played Tuesday, July 10 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City and televised nationally by FOX. This marks the third straight year that the Rays have had two pitchers on the AL All-Star staff (with the Rangers the only other team to do so). The only Tampa Bay player with more All-Star selections than Price is former Rays left fielder Carl Crawford with four. Third baseman Evan Longoria also has three. Price has been superb this season in compiling a mark of 11-4 with an ERA of 2.92. In 104.2 innings pitched, hes yielded 93 hits, struck out 97 and walked just 35. Along the way, the 26-year-old lefthander has rekindled memories of his spectacular 2010 season, when he finished 19-6 with a 2.72 ERA, placed second in the AL Cy Young Award balloting and earned his first All-Star nod. Price was named to the AL roster last year by manager Ron Washington, in spite of his struggles in a season that saw him finish 12-13 with a 3.49 ERA. But this year, his command has returned, along with an improved pitch selection, and Price has emerged as the bright spot in Tampa Bays starting rotation. He notched his AL-tops 11th victory Friday night by holding the Tigers to five hits in seven innings before leaving early as a precaution with back pain a condition that has not given him any further problems the past few days. Price bested 2011 Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander in a 4-2 win. And for the record, he boasts a record of 7-1 with a 2.24 ERA against former Cy Young Award winners in 11 career regular-season starts. The Rays are 10-1 in those games. Rodney, meanwhile, has been a welcome surprise for the Rays after signing as a free agent during the off-season. The 37-year-old righty has been lights out, saving 22 games in 23 opportunities while posting an ERA of 1.04. In 34.2 innings, hes allowed just 21 hits, one home run and five walks while striking out 35. His remarkable performance has allowed the Rays to fill the formidable void left by the elbow injury to last years standout closer, Kyle Farnsworth. And it follows two less-than-memorable seasons with the Los Angeles Angels, with whom he totaled 14 saves in 21 chances and a 4.24 ERA in 2010 and three of seven saves with a 4.50 ERA in 2011. Rodney has regained the form he displayed with the Tigers, when he saved 37 of 38 games (though his ERA was considerably less dazzling at 4.40). Rodney becomes the 12th different Rays player to make the All-Star team since 2008 (only the Boston Red Sox have had more with 16). Hes the ninth player acquired through free agency, the draft or trade by Tampa Bay vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman to make his first All-Star game with the Rays. In addition, Rodney is the oldest first-time All-Star in Rays history.
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