Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays Journal: Archer’s best is knowing worst, futures game, scary moment

CLEARWATER – The best thing about RHP Chris Archer's Tuesday outing may have been that he acknowledged the worst thing he did: walking speedy Roman Quinn to start the third inning after being up 0-and-2 in the count.

"Definitely something that I'm not happy about," Archer said. "That's nitpicking; that's what spring training is for. Definitely going to make sure it doesn't happen in season."

The walk, and ensuing stolen base, led to a run without a hit, and manager Kevin Cash was pleased  to hear of Archer's self-evaluation.

"Good," Cash said. "I agree. Happy that he recognized that."

Otherwise Archer – just waiting on Cash's official proclamation as the March 29 opening day starter – felt pretty good about his spring high 81-pitch, 4 1/3-inning outing.

"Today was definitely like conditioning," Archer said. "That was the first time I've gotten into the fifth, first time I've gotten into the fourth. Overall a good work day. Definitely some things to continue to improve on but it's spring training. Definitely walking away happy with that game."

Archer allowed only one hit, a homer to Maikel Franco on  a 3-and-0 "cookie" fastball, but three walks while striking out five.

He was most pleased with the ongoing improvement of his changeup, giving him a third weapon to work with.

"It was actually better than my slider (today) I think," he said. "That's very encouraging."

Game report

The Rays (7-10-1) lost 6-3 when RHP Austin Pruitt, competing for a bullpen spot, allowed a three-run walkoff homer to Jesmuel Valentin. That after a two-out throwing error by minor-league 3B Kevin Padlo. … INF Daniel Robertson and OF Denard Span homered in the three-run third, Cash noting Robertson's solid spring overall: "It's nice to see the work he's put in is taking effect in the games." …  Two candidates for the final outfield spot didn't show well, RF Brandon Snyder going 0-for-3 and DH Jason Coats 0-for-3. … Noting a two-hit day, Cash said CF Kevin Kiermaier "is getting going."

Futures game

The Rays had three of their brightest younger prospects on the field Tuesday, with 2017 top minor-leaguer OF Jesus Sanchez, 2017 All-Star Futures Game selectee SS Lucius Fox and 2016 first-round pick OF Josh Lowe all coming off the bench. Lowe, coming off a solid season at Class A Bowling Green, greatly enjoyed his first big-league spring game. "I was really excited," Lowe said. "I was a little nervous when I first got in the game, but after the first pitch I was fine." Cash said Lowe "might have been the highlight of the day. … Everybody raved about the batting practice he took. He looked pretty comfortable in the box and on base he's aggressive."

Miscellany

* Prospect RHP Jose De Leon had what team said was successful Tommy John elbow surgery performed by Dr. James Andrews. De Leon, acquired from the Dodgers in January 2017, will be sidelined until the middle of 2019.

* Jesus Sucre tried out a version of the large wristband with pitching data cards Rays catchers will use this season: "Just wanted to see how it felt."

* Non-roster INF Andrew Velasquez was feeling okay after being hit on the helmet by an Aaron Brown pitch in the eighth and removed from the game. "That was a little scary," Cash said. "Got him good. He was fine; he wanted to stay in the game."

* Cash spent the morning at the Trop in a meeting with the team's Florida-based pro scouts and the Arizona crew on a conference call: "Just good information being passed around."

* Cash raved about the sharpness and intensity LHP Blake Snell showed pitching  in a minor-league intrasquad game in Port Charlotte on Monday.

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