Part of what makes James Shields the pitcher he is, and what made him the pitcher the Royals wanted badly enough from the Rays to part with elite prospect Wil Myers, is the intensity he brings to the mound to win each and every game.

But sitting in the Kauffman Stadium dugout Monday afternoon, Shields admitted — if this is actually possible — he is even more motivated to beat the Rays when he faces his former team and mates for the first time tonight.

"I want to win every single time I go out there, but, yeah, definitely, there's no doubt, man, there's no doubt, I want to beat them," Shields said. "If I don't, I don't. It is what it is. They have a good team over there. They know me as well as I know them, so that should be a very interesting little chess game."

Assorted Rays have used a variety of words — weird, emotional, odd, awkward and strange — in describing the pending reunion.

Shields has a simple answer.

"I think it's going to be fun, man," he said. "I'm going to have fun out there. I was with the Rays for 12 years, there's a lot of memories over there, a lot of guys I've been with for a long time. On the other hand, I want to beat them."

Shields looks comfortable in Royals blue, and happy. He has pitched well, his 1-2, 3.09 record as much a product of a lack of support and some close losses, which is something of a familiar feeling.

"I came over here with the mind-set of just being me, being myself and hopefully this team would adapt to it, and they have," Shields said. "They've done a great job of taking me, and really accepting everything that I'm all about."