While the Rays are holding back most of their starters and veteran pitchers early in this extended spring training, RHP Chris Archer is working at an accelerated pace to be ready for next month's World Baseball Classic.
Tuesday, that was evident as Archer split his batting practice session into two 15-pitch segments so he could simulate a break between innings, a plan devised by pitching coach Jim Hickey and head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield.
Archer's next step will be to start Sunday's exhibition game, then pitch once or twice more for the Rays before leaving to join Team USA at a minicamp in Fort Myers. Tournament play starts March 10 in Miami.
The biggest concern is that the inherent increase in intensity would lead pitchers like Archer to push themselves earlier than usual, but he said doing so will help him be ready for the regular season.
"A lot of people have talked about how it might not be a good thing," he said. "For me, I think it will be great."
RHP Alex Colome is also headed to the WBC and said after throwing his batting practice he is "close to being ready," maybe 85 percent. Colome said he feels "perfect" now, but his priority is the Rays' season and "if I don't feel 100 percent then I won't be in the WBC."
Given the conservative schedule for most of the big-name pitchers, RH Austin Pruitt will start Friday night's exhibition opener, with Jake Faria, Ryan Garton (right), Diego Moreno, Ryne Stanek, Hunter Wood, LH Jose Alvarado and Jeff Walters also scheduled to face the Twins. Nonroster RH reliever David Carpenter starts Saturday's home opener.
Quote of the day
"To thank you guys for doing a good article."
RHP Danny Farquhar, on one of the things he learned in Tuesday's media training session
. 3B Evan Longoria still had a high fever when he showed up at the complex early Tuesday and was sent home, missing a second day of workouts.
. SS Matt Duffy (right) was pleased with how his surgically repaired left heel felt after a full workout, including his first batting practice on the field with the team. Defensive work remains limited to controlled settings.
. Nothing official, but wondering if Fox Sports Sun will go back and talk again with Rich Hollenberg about the TV host job?
. The team will meet with players union chief Tony Clark and staff before this morning's workout.
Today's full-squad workout starts at 10:30 a.m. at the Charlotte Sports Park (2300 El Jobean Road), lasting about 23/4 hours, though rain is forecast. Admission and parking are free. Driving time from the bay area is 1½-2 hours. Suggested route: Interstate 75 South to Toledo Blade Road, go west 6½ miles to El Jobean Road (SR 776), go right 2 miles, stadium complex is on left. For more information: (941) 235-5025.