Thursday, July 19, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays journal: Chris Archer declining to protest in deference to teammates

BALTIMORE — RHP Chris Archer agrees with the message and how Oakland C Bruce Maxwell handled presenting his view Saturday in becoming the first major-league player to kneel during the national anthem.

But Archer, the most socially conscious of the Rays, said he won't — at least now — take similar action in deference to teammates with differing opinions.

"Hopefully we can just have change going forward. We've been talking about it enough, but the change of people's outlook on other people and human rights, hopefully happens from this," Archer said.

"Just from the feedback that I've gotten from my teammates I don't think it would be the best thing to do for me at this time. I agree with the message. I believe in equality. People that are high-ranking in our government have issues with what we're doing and have issues with certain people. I think it just kind of sends a message if it's done tastefully. And I think the baseball situation (by Maxwell), there's no better. You couldn't have done it any better."

Archer, who is biracial, said it became clear that other Rays had different views.

"I don't want to offend anybody, and no matter how you explain it or justify it some people just can't get past the military element of it," he said. "And it's not something I want to do, is ruffle my teammates' feathers over my personal views on something that has nothing to do with baseball."

Rays manager Kevin Cash said no players have come to him about similarly protesting, but he would be supportive. "You've seen throughout sports players are entitled to kind of voice their opinions by doing that," he said. "If they chose to, I'd support it."

Though NFL and NBA players have been kneeling for the anthem for more than a year, Archer said there was a reason it took a while for any baseball player to do so, including it taking a player, such as Maxwell, with a military family background to step forward.

"I think mainly because the other sports that do that are predominantly black, our sport isn't," he said. "So I think the criticism might be a little more harsh."

Record of the day

1,488 Strikeouts by Rays hitters, breaking their 2016 team record of 1,482 and second most in AL history behind Houston's 1,535 in 2013.

On the field, some good

Though Archer had a rough day in allowing six runs in less than four innings in the 9-4 loss to the Orioles, there was some good for the 76-80, all-but-eliminated Rays. CF Kevin Kiermaier got them started with his third leadoff homer (second on the game's first pitch) and 15th overall, backup C Jesus Sucre delivered his seventh homer and 1B Logan Morrison had his 28th multihit game and first since Sept. 4.

The cat's meow

In a toned-down version of the annual rookie dress-up day based on MLB's new antihazing policy, Rays rookie players and staff — plus second-year LHP Blake Snell — donned DJ Kitty onesies for the trip to New York.

Number of the day

1 Loss by Rays or win by Twins for Tampa Bay to be officially eliminated from playoff contention. Both teams are off today.

Pitching in

There has been no official decision, but expect RHP Alex Cobb to skip his last scheduled start Thursday due to his heavy workload (1791/3 innings) in his first full season since Tommy John surgery, with RHP Jake Faria taking his place. … Though still focused on finding out about his family in hurricane-damaged Puerto Rico, LHP Xavier Cedeno said it was good to get back on the mound Saturday for his first big-league appearance since April 16, having recovered from a forearm injury. "It was good to get back out there," he said.

Quote of the day

"So .500, two games over, two games under; if it's not in the playoffs, it's basically just not good enough."

Cash, dismissing any consolation goals for his 76-80 Rays

Miscellany

. SS Matt Duffy, who didn't play in the majors this season due to ongoing issues with his left heel, is slated to play today for the Rays' instructional league team in a 1 p.m. game at Bradenton's LECOM Park, formerly known as McKechnie Field.

. Cash rested two of his top players, 3B Evan Longoria and RF Steven Souza Jr., in advance of today's team scheduled day off. "They play a lot, and I just felt it was time for them to get a day and double it up with the off day," he said. Longoria had played in the team's past 37 games, with three DH days. Souza had played 10 straight after missing three games due to a bruised knee.

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