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Rays journal: Bench depth tested as outfielder Peter Bourjos hits DL

BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 25: J.J. Hardy #2 of the Baltimore Orioles tags out Peter Bourjos #18 of the Tampa Bay Rays for the first out of the third inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on April 25, 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images) 700010525
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 25: J.J. Hardy #2 of the Baltimore Orioles tags out Peter Bourjos #18 of the Tampa Bay Rays for the first out of the third inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on April 25, 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images) 700010525
Published May 31, 2017

ARLINGTON, Texas — In adding two extra arms to their bullpen for Tuesday's game — which turned out to be prescient since starter Matt Andriese left in the second inning — the Rays left themselves short a position player.

That's because OF Peter Bourjos was placed on the 10-day DL with what they called tennis elbow.

Having a three-man bench is not ideal, but manager Kevin Cash said the versatility of INF/OF Michael Martinez makes it more manageable. And it may be only a short-term situation as once they get the bullpen back rested they can send down a reliever and recall OF Mallex Smith from Triple A.

But for Tuesday, they had both RHP Hunter Wood, who was called up from Double-A Montgomery, and RHP Chih-Wei Hu, from Durham, in their pen. Both pitched in the 9-5 loss and were optioned back to the minors after the game, with two new arms to be added today.

Bourjos said the injury was not bad.

"Just a little sore," he said. "This didn't hold me out of any lineup; this is something that kind of flared up and I've been playing through it and now this is some time to just let it calm down."

Initially, anyway, Cash said Martinez can help. "He can play anywhere in the outfield and he can play anywhere in the infield," Cash said. "That's definitely a benefit we didn't have before."

"Tennis elbow" was an interesting term by the Rays; "table-tennis elbow" might have been more applicable since Bourjos does occasionally play ping-pong in the clubhouse.

Ranking of the day

1 Corey Dickerson among AL hitters with a .345 average going into play Tuesday. Only two other qualifying Rays have led the AL this late into a season — Jason Bartlett in 2009, hitting .373 through June 6; Matt Joyce in 2011, hitting .364 through June 2.

Archer looking for long night

Since the Rays have two off days in the next five, and the bullpen has been used so heavily, RHP Chris Archer takes the mound tonight knowing that with potentially a week until his next start, he is in position for an extended outing.

"I've thought about it," Archer said. "I hope they lean on me definitely equally if not more than they have in the past, just knowing if I get extended 120 (pitches), 130, I've got two days extra to heal. I'm conditioned for it, and if the game dictates that I need to do it, I'm ready and willing. And if the game doesn't, it's not that big a deal."

Though the Rays are catching somewhat of a break with the Texas weather — it was only 88 at first pitch Tuesday — Archer was proactive in conditioning for it by doing his running and some other work outside during the last homestand.

Archer and new assistant strength and conditioning coordinator Joey Greany "kind of challenged everybody (on the pitching staff) to get outside one or two times when we were home knowing that we were going to be here in the heat, and I think pretty much everybody did."

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Number of the day

4 Strikeouts needed by RHP Chris Archer tonight to break David Price's team record of 54 in a month, set in June 2014

Miscellany

. 2B Brad Miller (abdominal strain) is slated to start what could be a short rehab assignment tonight with the advanced Class A Stone Crabs. Manager Kevin Cash had mistakenly said he was starting Tuesday. ... C Wilson Ramos went 2-for-4, with a double, in an extended spring game in Port Charlotte.

. The Rays had a winning record on Memorial Day for the seventh time in the past 10 seasons.

. 3B Evan Longoria went into play Tuesday is one homer shy of 250 for his career.

. RF Steven Souza Jr. on Monday became the first Ray to have at least four hits and four runs from the leadoff spot, and the first overall since Ben Zobrist on June 11, 2011.