Video: Archer on facing team that drafted him
The last time Rays righthander Chris Archer was at Progressive Field, it was in July 2006, and he was a 17-year-old Indians fifth-round pick signing his first professional contract.
Archer, 24, watched the Indians take batting practice, and he and his father, Ron, took in the game from the front row.
But Archer will have an even better view Saturday, called up to make his season debut for the Rays in a place where it all - professionally - started for him.
"I always envisioned myself playing here," Archer said Friday. "And to come back and actually play on the other side is pretty cool, just to maybe show them what they're missing out on."
Archer showed his potential last year in two impressive stints with the Rays, but had to patiently wait his turn as a shin contusion briefly set him back and led him to be the fourth member of the Durham rotation to get called up (RHP Jake Odorizzi, LHP Alex Torres and RHP Alex Colome).
"I think it's awesome," Archer said. "Because (manager Joe Maddon and executive VP Andrew Friedman) said that we're going to need to use 7-8 guys, and to already use eight and effectively, it's amazing."
Archer said he took the time in Durham, when he went 5-3 with a 3.96 ERA in 10 starts, to improve on the things the Rays wanted him to work on, specifically fastball command, utilizing his changeup and controlling the running game. He had a few setbacks due to getting hit in the right leg by comebackers in back to back games, one in his shin and the other in his hip flexor, but he said he's healthy and excited for his turn.
"It's a sense of relief," Archer said. "I feel like I'm at home, the guys fully embrace me whenever I came in today. And I feel like I've also continued to get better as well, so I feefl even more comfortable than I did in March."