Saturday, April 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays' Archer pleased in spring debut vs. Red Sox

FORT MYERS — RHP Chris Archer is big into visualization, and while warming up for his Tuesday spring debut, he had visions of getting Boston DH David Ortiz out looking at a backdoor slider.

Doing so for real, to end the first of two impressive innings, was obviously even better.

"I was happy," Archer said. "I visualize that pitch, I do it in the bullpen. But nothing is like executing it in a game, to one of the best hitters of all time. So it does get me excited."

The rest of Archer's afternoon in the 8-0 win went equally well. He allowed only an infield single (that probably should have been an error on 3B Logan Forsythe), threw only 21 pitches (15 strikes) and sprinkled in the changeup he has been focusing on this spring.

"I felt pretty good about it," Archer said. "The things that we talked about (Monday), I was able to go ahead and execute right away: I got used to the umpire, the whole spectrum of the backstop and the fans and having the world champions in the box essentially.

"It helped the whole process overall. I was able to focus on each individual pitch regardless of the situation. I was happy overall with the outing. … Overall, for Game 1, mission accomplished."

LHP Jake McGee was also pleased with his work. He threw the curveball he was working on four times, one that Ortiz swung through.

THE DO-RUN: C Jose Molina didn't want to talk about his unexpected baserunning exhibition, legging out a double then scoring from second, and, more impressively, scoring from first on a David DeJesus triple to the triangle in deep centerfield.

But manager Joe Maddon was willing to have some fun with him.

"We were definitely playing in the right ballpark for that to occur," Maddon said. "That can't happen just anywhere. So the people that were here (Tuesday) really should feel fortunate to see J-Mo score on a ball in the gap from first base. It's equally as rare sometimes from second base. He stayed in cadence and had a nice slide into second base. He needed the bag to slow down his momentum."

HELLY UPDATE: RHP Jeremy Hellickson continues to progress well in his recovery from Jan. 29 elbow surgery, advancing through plyometric exercises with a tentative plan to start throwing by the end of next week. "Everything feels great," he said.

SPARTAN UP: RHP Sergio Perez, a University of Tampa product, signed and joined minor-league camp. Perez, 29, a second-round pick in 2006, has spent eight seasons in the minors, primarily with Houston, mostly in Triple A the past four years.

GAME DETAILS: 1B James Loney hit a two-run homer, giving the Rays a 4-0 lead in the second, and Sean Rodriguez "put a good swing" on a blast over the faux Green Monster. … DeJesus had a double and a triple but also got picked off. … The Rays had four two-out RBI hits. … Maddon noted the work of relievers Brad Boxberger and Mark Lowe. … The Rays are now five games into the spring without an error.

MISCELLANY: DH Wil Myers heard plenty from fans in Boston after his playoffs outfield miscue, but nothing Tuesday from the Fenway South crowd. … RHP Nathan Karns was to pitch Tuesday but now will work Thursday, saying he is fine and it was a scheduling change. … 2B Ben Zobrist said he felt "great" the morning after his first game action, no issues with his back, and expects to play today. … The Rays were presented Tuesday with the DreamMaker Award from the Children's Dream Fund for their work in fulfilling wishes for children being treated for life-threatening illnesses. … INF prospect Jake Hager got a 21st birthday present Tuesday, added to the travel roster in advance of today's official opening of minor-league camp.

     
   
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