ST. PETERSBURG — Starting the Sunday before the All-Star Game typically keeps selected pitchers from participating, with three American Leaguers withdrawing from this year's game for that very reason.
But with an opportunity to be added to the AL roster as a replacement, Rays right-hander Chris Archer eagerly took it, certain that after starting Sunday against the Red Sox he will be ready and able to pitch an inning Tuesday in Miami.
"I'm happy that the Rays, they know that I know my body and I wouldn't put myself in danger, and I bounce back pretty well," he said. "(The second day after a start) is a bullpen day for me typically anyway. Sometimes my bullpens are heavy, sometimes they are light. So I think if I do get the opportunity to get in the game I'm going to be just fine."
Archer was "very, very excited" to make the All-Star team for the second time in three years, thanking his teammates and noting how he'll be most pleased seeing his parent smiling in the Marlins Park stands.
"It's pretty special," he said. "It's up there. As far as individual achievements go there's not many that top it. Obviously first and foremost, I want to win a World Series. I want to win a Cy Young. And I want to make as many All-Star Games as possible."
Though Archer's 7-5, 3.95 record doesn't necessarily stand out, he is second in the AL with 139 strikeouts and third with 1161/3 innings. Based on the advanced metric FIP, which estimates a pitcher's effectiveness independent of his team's defense, Archer is fifth best in the majors.
Manager Kevin Cash said Archer was deserving of being chosen by MLB officials: "We would never do anything to get in the way of that, and we're going to honor Chris' thoughts" on being available to pitch.
With Corey Dickerson elected the starting DH, the Rays will have three reps as Cash was previously named to the AL coaching staff. With Indians manager Terry Francona sidelined due to a heart procedure, MLB named Cleveland bench coach Brad Mills as the All-Star manager, wanting to maintain continuity since the Indians staff did all the prep work.
Cash, a member of Indians staff from 2013-14, said that was absolutely the right choice, he had no thoughts that he would be named and — now free of crutches and wearing just a brace on his broken left foot — he will do whatever is asked to help.
"As far as me getting to go, obviously I'm excited," he said. "I'll do whatever I can to help those guys out. Brad Mills, he'll do an awesome job, he'll be very comfortable, he's managed before, he'll make it fun for all those players that go."
Marc Topkin can be reached at [email protected]. Follow @TBTimes_Rays.