Friday, January 19, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay Rays considering using Chris Archer to ease Alex Cobb's workload

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays will add C/OF/1B Stephen Vogt and RHP Dane De La Rosa to their roster today, giving them 34 active players.

A 35th may be added eventually, and it could be interesting.

RHP Chris Archer may be of help to the Rays later in the month, especially as they are concerned with RHP Alex Cobb's innings total.

With off days coming up Thursday and Monday, the Rays don't need Archer right now, but they want him to stay sharp and game-ready if they do.

So they are looking into sending him down, from Triple-A Durham, which just ended its season, to Double-A Montgomery, which is in the Southern League playoffs. Doing so would require the permission of minor-league baseball officials.

Cobb, after Tuesday's win, has thrown 155 innings between Durham and the majors. Manager Joe Maddon said he and executive VP Andrew Friedman met to discuss scenarios, "looking at Alex Cobb's body of work to this point, what are we comfortable with going forward, number of innings, etc."

Archer was impressive in two starts with the Rays (0-2, 3.86) and was 7-9, 3.66 for the Bulls.

As of now, Jeremy Hellickson, David Price and James Shields will face the Rangers this weekend; Cobb, Matt Moore and Hellickson will start in Baltimore next week; and Price, Shields and Cobb or Moore will pitch against the Yankees next weekend.

CAUTIOUS HANDLING: Though Maddon insisted there was "no concern" over Evan Longoria's status, he acknowledged the Rays were playing it cautious after Longoria said his legs felt tired and fatigued Monday, leading to his early departure.

So Tuesday, the Rays had Longoria DH when, Maddon said, "in a perfect world" Luke Scott would have been the DH with Longoria at third. Also, Longoria did not join the team on the field for batting practice, though he hit early in the cage — and he did hit a two-run homer in the game.

"It's just staying with the program, making sure that we keep him well, guard against any problems and really listen to him conversationally," Maddon said. "I want to be very cautious with him."

Longoria started at third base four times in a five-game span. Also a factor, Maddon said, was playing on artificial turf in Toronto then at Tropicana Field. "This is the kind of a field that is not conducive to longevity of athletes in general," he said.

NIEMANNN UPDATE: RHP Jeff Niemann, diagnosed Monday with slight rotator cuff inflammation, will see noted doctor James Andrews today for further testing. A return this season appears unlikely.

MINOR MATTERS: Three Rays minor-league affiliates made the playoffs: Montgomery, Class A Bowling Green and short-season Class A Hudson Valley.

Bowling Green, which had four players suspended for failed drug tests, opens best-of-three Midwest League play tonight against Lake County (Indians) with RHP Parker Markel starting. OF Todd Glaesmann, who led the organization with 21 homers, was moved back from advanced Class A Charlotte to join the Hot Rods.

Montgomery opens best-of-five play against Mobile (D'backs) Thursday. Hudson Valley opens best-of-three play Friday, with its opponent to be determined.

MISCELLANY: The Rays have won Cobb's past seven starts, tying the team record. … Yankees manager Joe Girardi was ejected after a strike-three call in the fourth. … The Yankees were held to six or fewer hits for a fifth straight game, their longest such streak since 1990.

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