Friday, December 15, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Return to Montgomery has Rays' Chris Archer reflecting

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Coming back to Riverwalk Stadium Saturday, where he pitched — and not all that successfully — for the Double-A Biscuits in 2011 gave Rays RHP Chris Archer a good chance to take measure of how far he has come.

"It's different," he said. "I had a completely different mentality. … I was trying to prove that I could be successful not only in Double A, but in Triple A and at the big-league level. I got a little ahead of myself."

Shortly after the Rays arrived Saturday, Archer went out to stroll downtown Montgomery, hoping to eat at the Alley Station deli he favored back then — it was closed — and clear his mind.

"I learned a lot reflecting, walking around the town … about how mental this game actually is," he said. "Because my ability isn't that much different, just the way that I view things, the way I go about my business, is much different."

Archer worked four scoreless innings Saturday — allowing three hits and no walks, striking out six, throwing 52 pitches (34 strikes) — in his final tuneup for his Thursday start.

"I felt great, and it came from feeling strong kinetically," he said. "I just felt like I was in a good place not only with my mind, but my body was working extremely well on top of that."

ROSTER-IZATION: Though their roster has seemed set for days, the Rays will make it official at today's 3 p.m. deadline, with INF Tim Beckham and RHPs Jeremy Hellickson and Juan Carlos Oviedo headed to the DL.

The only issue has been how to procedurally handle Oviedo, who is not ready to start the season after missing the first month of camp due to visa issues. That hangup has prevented Maddon from confirming what has been obvious: that RHPs Brandon Gomes and Josh Lueke got the final two bullpen spots. The Rays want to be cautious with Oviedo, who hasn't pitched in the majors since September 2011 primarily due to an elbow injury and surgery.

That leaves INF Wilson Betemit, who also reported late and is expected to go to Triple-A Durham. RHP Mark Lowe, released last week, opted to sign a minor-league deal with the Indians.

INF Jayson Nix was traded Friday to the Phillies for cash considerations.

Minor-league rosters will be released today as well, though the Double-A Montgomery group was pretty much set, including C Curt Casali, who made a strong spring impression; 2012 top pick Richie Shaffer; and 1B Cameron Seitzer, who hit two ninth-inning spring homers for the Rays.

LINING UP: Maddon said he is almost set on Monday's lineup, still deciding whether to have Jose Molina or Ryan Hanigan catch and how to set up the bottom of the order. Expect to see a top seven of LF David DeJesus, RF Wil Myers, 2B Ben Zobrist, 3B Evan Longoria, 1B James Loney, CF Desmond Jennings and DH Matt Joyce, with SS Yunel Escobar eighth or ninth.

GAME DETAILS: The Rays led 5-0, but the Biscuits came back — against pitchers who also were Biscuits — to win 6-5. Jeff Malm hit a two-run homer off Dylan Floro, Tyler Motter a tying homer off Jimmy Patterson. The Biscuits took the lead when Luke Maile singled, went to third on Seitzer's double and scored on Shaffer's sac fly. … Class A C Justin O'Conner took advantage of his start with the Rays, rapping three doubles and throwing out two runners. "How about him?" Maddon said. "He's an interesting player."

MISCELLANY: DeJesus fouled a ball off his right knee but Maddon said he was fine. … RHP Jake Odorizzi, the No. 5 starter, will throw in Port Charlotte today. The rest of the Rays are off. … The Rays sent Tropicana field head groundskeeper Dan Moeller and assistant Jeff Jacobsen to Montgomery on Friday to help prep the Riverwalk Stadium field.

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