Live from Port Charlotte: Archer sets tone, Souza strains ribs
UPDATE, 1:53: As Cash suggested, O'Conner's spring is pretty much over as the Rays now say he will miss 4-6 weeks. Though not a candidate for a big-league spot at the start of the season, the Rays were hoping to see progress this season and he had the advantage, should they have several injuries, of being on the 40-man roster.
UPDATE, 12:20: On what was a good overall first day, the Rays had one unexpected medical matter - OF Steven Souza Jr. straining an intercostal muscle (between two ribs) while taking swings in the cage with other early reporting position players.
Souza said he doesn't think it is anything serious and hopes to be ready when position players start workouts on Friday; the Rays will wait a couple days to do an MRI and see how he feels. Officially he is day to day.
Manager Kevin Cash said he it is "highly doubtful" O'Conner will be able to participate in camp, acknowledging how disappointing that is for all.
Cash said all 33 pitchers and 7 catchers were on hand, and the pitchers who threw did well.
DEVELOPING: Even before the Rays took the field for their first workout, All-Star ace RHP Chris Archer delivered a tone-setting message by scolding two young pitching prospects, RHP Jacob Faria and LHP Blake Snell for not arriving at the complex earlier as the other starters do.
Though Faria and Snell were not late, walking in at 8:28 with a team meeting set to start at 9, Archer, in front of reporters, told them that as minor-leaguers they needed to be there earlier, citing the legacy program passed down to him from James Shields and David Price.
"You guys are the last two pitchers here,'' Archer said to them, with a group of reporters in front of his locker. "You guys have zero service time. You got no right to be coming in after me, really. I get here super early. I wouldn't expect you to be here at 6:30, but 8:30?''
Among other early notes:
* C Justin O'Conner said he has slight herniated disc and will be sideined at least a couple weeks after receiving an epidural shot. He felt the discomfort on the 16-hour drive to Florida but initially tried to do rehab and exercises.
* RHP Alex Cobb said his recovery from May 2015 Tommy John surgery continues to go well, that he is throwing from a distance of 120 feet with no issues and expects to start throwing off the mound in mid-March. He is aiming for a late July/early August return to the team.
* Players were greeted on their first day by MLB drug testers.