ST. PETERSBURG — Since RHP Chris Archer was named the Rays' opening day starter in place of injured RHP Alex Cobb, he has insisted he won't treat today's game any differently despite the pressure, distractions, and pomp and circumstance.
"When I was going to pitch the second game, I was planning on throwing a complete game. I'm capable of doing it; I've done it before," Archer said. "So for me personally, there is no added pressure because I was planning on being the guy, Cobb and I being that tandem, because really there is no veteran on our staff."
But Archer, 26, also will be working on an unusual schedule today, having pitched two innings Thursday and thus starting for the first time — in the majors, anyway — on less than the usual four days' rest.
"It's not perfect," Archer said. "(But) I don't think it'll be that tough."
Archer skipped the usual bullpen session two days after a start, though he did plan to do his usual day-before light throwing session Sunday, thankful the scheduling could be worked out around the Easter holiday.
Archer's adopted parents are scheduled to be his guests today, along with some old buddies and a new friend, Blue Jays RHP Marcus Stroman, who is rehabilitating a knee injury in Dunedin.
ROSTER SET: No changes were made to the announced opening day roster. C Bobby Wilson was selected, C Curt Casali and LHP C.J. Riefenhauser were optioned to Triple-A Durham, and five players went on the disabled list. OF/DH David DeJesus, who has no real role but is owed $6 million, was included.
Cobb (forearm tendinitis), INF Nick Franklin (left oblique strain) and LHP Drew Smyly (shoulder tendinitis) were placed on the 15-day DL retroactive to March 27, making them eligible April 11, though none are expected to be ready by then. RHP Alex Colome (pneumonia) went on the DL on March 27.
LHP Jake McGee (elbow surgery) was placed on the 15-day DL effective Sunday, making him eligible April 20; he isn't expected back until the end of the month. LHP Matt Moore (elbow surgery) was placed on the 60-day DL effective Sunday, making him eligible June 4; he is targeting a late June return.
HOMEBOY: New manager Kevin Cash has said repeatedly that today's focus should be on the players because opening day is exciting for everyone. But it's a bigger deal for Cash, who is not only managing for the first time but managing his hometown team, having grown up in Tampa. Having all kinds of relatives and friends in town has been a reminder, evidenced by the hefty number of tickets he needed. The Rays helped out by providing a suite for his wife, Emily, and their three kids, plus other family members. "It's a lot," Cash said. "It's an embarrassing number. The Rays have been very generous."
MISCELLANY: INF Juan Francisco has opted out of his minor-league deal rather than go to Triple-A Durham. … Double-A SS Jake Hager will miss the season due to knee surgery, the Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser reported.