ST. PETERSBURG — Rays RHP Chris Archer has found doing less more to his liking.
Based on conversations with similarly lithe White Sox LHP Chris Sale and others at the All-Star Game, Archer made a significant reduction in the amount of throwing he does between starts, and said he heads into his final four-five starts of his second full season feeling stronger.
"It was kind of an experiment," Archer, 26, said. "The concept makes sense. At this point, we're not building strength, we're trying to maintain. In years past I was trying to build the strength and endurance to withstand a full season. 2013 and 2014, those were both new to me as far as innings and length of season and total amount of starts. At this point, it's about maintenance. I don't need to build. I wasn't worried about losing anything. … It's worked out really well."
Archer, who starts tonight against Boston, said the intensity of his throwing sessions is the same, but the "volume is probably cut in half." For example, instead of a 30-pitch bullpen, he now has "a 12-pitch routine."
Archer is 3-5, 3.15 in 10 starts since the All-Star break; he was 9-6, 2.74 in 19 before.
Archer has not beaten the Red Sox since his first start against them nearly three years ago, having gone 0-6, 5.49 in eight starts since. He is 31-24, 3.01 against all other teams but said there is reason why he has struggled against Boston.
MEDICAL MATTERS: OF Steven Souza Jr., sidelined since fracturing his left hand Aug. 1, is expected to rejoin the team tonight. … LHP Xavier Cedeno might remain out through the weekend due to tightness on his left side. … C Curt Casali (hamstring) and OF Desmond Jennings (knee) have been increasing their workouts in hopes of returning this season. … RHP Steve Geltz will be used on a limited basis due to his heavy workload.
MINOR MATTERS: Advanced Class A Charlotte opened the best-of-five Florida State League championship series at Daytona with a 1-0 victory Thursday. Games 3-5 are set for Port Charlotte starting Saturday. … Double-A Montgomery opened best-of-five Southern League first-round play with a 4-3 loss at Chattanooga.
GOOD DEED: Archer was nominated by his teammates for the Players Association Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award, which goes to the player "whose on-field performance and contributions to his community most inspire others to higher levels of achievement." Online voting at mlbplayers.com will determine six finalists then players will vote.
MISCELLANY: OF Mikie Mahtook showed off his arm Wednesday with an impressive, albeit slightly off-line, throw from rightfield to third base. "My inner (Kevin) Kiermaier," he said. … Boston DH David Ortiz, who has hit 31 career homers at the Trop, comes in tonight two short of the 500 milestone.