PORT CHARLOTTE — RHP Chris Archer was a bit surprised when he heard he was being optioned to Triple-A Durham on Tuesday, figuring he'd get a little longer stay in big-league camp to show what he can do.
But after Rays officials laid out how the work he'll do in the minors will make him more ready when and if he is needed back in the big leagues, he was understanding of their decision.
"Mixed with my conviction that I can compete at this level and with that conversation that we just had, there are no malicious feelings, there's no like negative feelings going to Triple A, going to the minor leagues for who knows how long," Archer said.
"I know I have to continue to develop, and something's going to happen; every year someone goes down or they need an extra arm. So I'm going to make the most of my opportunity when I come up, but continue to maximize my potential in the minor leagues."
Two of the Rays' other advanced starting prospects, RHP Jake Odorizzi, acquired from Kansas City in the James Shields trade, and LHP Alex Torres were also optioned to Durham, reducing the camp roster to 48.
Maddon said Archer, who made his big-league debut last season, eventually will play a key role.
"He is a bright kid, he gets it, he understands how this whole thing works," Maddon said. "He knows his time is coming. We know that his time is coming. When you've got a young guy like that, you don't want to mess it up with somebody who can be that good. So right now, the way this thing is being put together, it seems the timing is right to send him back for a little more seasoning and get him ready so when he comes up here he stays here."
ALEX THE GREAT: RHP Alex Cobb, who has a spot in the rotation, continued his torrid spring with five dominant innings in a 3-1 loss to the Yankees.
Cobb allowed only two hits, struck out six and didn't walk any, throwing 48 of his 64 pitches for strikes. In his past three outings total, he has worked 12 innings, allowing four hits with 16 Ks and no walks.
Maddon said Cobb looked to be "in midseason form" and was fun to watch. Cobb said he was pleased to do so well since he felt terrible, his bullpen "horrendous" and his legs not "underneath" him.
"I'd been really waiting for that game 'cause it's bound to happen throughout the season where you just don't feel good," Cobb said. "I made sure I focused on a couple key points of my mechanics and did it aggressively, and I was happy to see that the results were good."
GAME DETAILS: INF Kelly Johnson said he felt okay, though with a lot to think about, in a relatively uneventful first career appearance at first base, where he is expected to get some time during the season. "A little uncomfortable overall," Maddon said. … The Yankees scored three off RHP Dane De La Rosa in a messy eighth. … RHP Brandon Gomes had another 1-2-3 inning and posted his fifth scoreless outing. … Mike Fontenot's sac fly scored the only run for the Rays (11-7).
MEDICAL MATTERS: DH Luke Scott, who returned Monday after missing a week with hamstring tightness, said he felt good enough to play Tuesday; he was held out due to the wet grounds. … INF Tim Beckham (facial laceration) expects to return Thursday or Friday, OF Sam Fuld (right hamstring tightness) may not until Saturday. … RHP Jamey Wright had swelling and discoloration where he was hit by a line drive Monday but said he won't miss any time.
MISCELLANY: The rest of the team is off but LHP David Price is pitching in a minor-league game at 1 today in Port Charlotte. RHP Jeremy Hellickson will do the same Thursday. … Though a long way from a decision, Maddon said he liked the idea of Desmond Jennings hitting first, Ben Zobrist second and Evan Longoria third. … The Rays were 0-3 with Cecil Fielder as their Adopt-a-Legend.