Saturday, June 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays shortstop Miller gets in extra work on throwing

PORT CHARLOTTE — When the Rays acquired Brad Miller from Seattle to be their primary shortstop, they knew they had to do some work to correct his throwing issues.

The first week of spring games has shown that to be a work in progress.

Miller made his third throwing error in 20 spring innings during Wednesday's 5-1 loss to Toronto, and only a good scoop by 1B Logan Morrison saved him from a fourth.

After leaving the game, Miller headed to a back field and asked the coaches for a remedial session fielding grounders and throwing.

"I just wanted to get some extra work. Obviously that's what this is for, to get into midseason form, and I just felt like I wanted to work on something, work through something," said Miller, who has made 21 throwing errors (and 39 overall) in 264 career games at short.

"I just know what I'm capable of, that's what it comes down to. I want to perform to my expectations, and that is not my expectation."

Manager Kevin Cash, who has bench/infield coach Tom Foley on the case, said the Rays are far from concerned.

"No, it's early-early," he said. "The last thing you want to do is go and overload a guy on something. He's in a new environment. Just let him play. We know he can play short. He'll be just fine."

ARCHED UP: All-Star ace RHP Chris Archer had a rough outing, throwing 32 pitches in a two-run, two-hit, two-walk, two wild-pitch first inning and 50 overall to 12 batters in 21/3 innings.

"I think the biggest thing was, when I got a few guys on base, I was trying to do a little bit too much," Archer said. "Obviously, spiking my offspeed (pitches). But I feel like I had a couple-batter glitch, then I was back to my normal self. So it's nice to have challenges in spring training, because that way, when you get to the season, it's not unfamiliar."

On the plus side of what he called "a great work day" based on the ensuing adjustments, Archer said his stuff was "better than good. Pretty close to midseason form."

SOUZA TIME: RF Steven Souza Jr. struck out twice, flied out and bounced a throw woefully off target, but he actually was quite pleased with his first game of the spring after recovering from a Feb. 21 intercostal strain.

"It was awesome," he said. "Just being able to compete like that was fun. I was a little excited, as you could tell, to be on the field. I just wanted to get in there, swing and test it out in a high-adrenaline environment. So I'm really happy with how everything turned out."

MEDICAL MATTERS: INF/OF Steve Pearce was scratched due to right calf tightness, and Cash said while "not overly concerned," they will "play it smart" for the next few days. … 1B James Loney was sent home for the day after reporting with flu-like symptoms. … LHP Jonny Venters and RHP Neil Wagner were both pleased after throwing off the mound for the first time this spring in the next stage of their rehab from Tommy John elbow surgery.

GAME DETAILS: LHP Xavier Cedeno and RHP Alex Colome, the top setup men, made their spring debuts, working on a delayed schedule due to workload. Cedeno had a one-hit, two-strikeout frame; Colome allowed a run on a hit, a walk and a wild pitch. … The Rays (3-5) got their run in the second when INF/OF Taylor Motter, who replaced Pearce in the lineup, singled, moved around and scored on C Curt Casali's single. … After allowing a two-run single in the fourth, RHP Ryan Webb did what he is supposed to, getting a ground ball for an inning-ending double play.

MISCELLANY: C Justin O'Conner, sidelined with a herniated disc, was the first "cut" of spring, optioned to minor-league camp. … Former Rays 1B Casey Kotchman, a Seminole High product, was 1-for-4 for the Jays; he is a nonroster invitee. … The Rays have made an MLB-most 14 errors in their eight games.

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