Rays journal: Chris Archer denies intent, Blue Jays have doubts

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 30: Jose Bautista #19 of the Toronto Blue Jays has words for Chris Archer #22 of the Tampa Bay Rays after objecting to an inside pitch before flying out in the first inning during MLB game action at Rogers Centre on April 30, 2017 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) 700010595
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 30: Jose Bautista #19 of the Toronto Blue Jays has words for Chris Archer #22 of the Tampa Bay Rays after objecting to an inside pitch before flying out in the first inning during MLB game action at Rogers Centre on April 30, 2017 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) 700010595
Published May 1, 2017

TORONTO — Rays starter Chris Archer's actions Sunday sure seemed to indicate he was sending a well-received message to his teammates in sailing his first pitch to Jose Bautista behind the Toronto slugger's back, avenging teammate Steven Souza Jr. being hit on Saturday.

But his words didn't.

"I was just trying to go inside," Archer claimed, "and the ball got away from me a little bit."

When Bautista was asked if he thought there was intent, he said, "I don't know."

But Blue Jays manager John Gibbons insisted there was no doubt, suggested the umps agreed since they issued a warning to both benches and said Archer should be suspended, just as Boston's Matt Barnes was last week for throwing at Baltimore's Manny Machado.

"I would expect there has got to be some kind of suspension," Gibbons said. "The way they handle things now, the Machado thing the other day, the ball was thrown behind him. Now if the umpire hadn't issued a warning, okay, maybe he didn't think anything was wrong. Since he issued a warning, maybe he's (thinking), ah, something's not right here. … Maybe he thought there was some intent, and that's why I would imagine the league would step up like they do most of the time. I'd be disappointed if they didn't. They have to maintain that, whatever the word is, continuity."

Bautista and Archer had a few words after the at-bat, as Bautista took a circuitous route back to the dugout after flying out to approach him. Archer claimed he couldn't hear anything; Bautista said, "I asked him if he was okay. He said he was good."

The Souzapalooza show

Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. was a prime topic of conversation even though he didn't play Sunday, as avenging the pitch that bruised his left hand Saturday seemed to be the reason RHP Chris Archer threw behind top Jays hitter Jose Bautista.

Though the hand was sore and tight Sunday, Souza remained confident that with initial X-rays showing no break he would not miss much time.

"In '15 I broke my hand in Boston (after similarly being hit) and I was pretty certain it was broken, and I'm pretty certain I'm going to be okay with this one," Souza said. "I guess I won't know until I start swinging and doing stuff, but at this point, no, I'm not worried."

Souza was thankful, however, even more so since he usually wears a protective pad in his left batting glove but forgot to pack it. "I'm very fortunate it hit the right spot," he said. "I didn't bring it on this trip. … I want to say I probably won't (do that again), but I do tend to forget stuff."

Manager Kevin Cash said he hopes Souza can return to the DH-less lineup tonight in Miami.

Rasmus sighting expected in Miami

Somewhat related to OF Steven Souza Jr.'s status, the Rays are planning to have OF Colby Rasmus meet the team in Miami today after he played his final rehab game Sunday for Double-A Montgomery, homering to make it 2-for-20 in six games. Rasmus, on the DL since spring training as he recovers from offseason hip surgery, is expected to work out with the Rays but likely not activated until Tuesday or Wednesday. That's so the Rays can make sure Souza won't need to go on the DL as they have to designate for assignment OF Shane Peterson, and risk losing him on waivers, to make room for Rasmus.

Stay updated on Tampa Bay’s sports scene

Stay updated on Tampa Bay’s sports scene

Subscribe to our free Sports Today newsletter

We’ll send you news and analysis on the Bucs, Lightning, Rays and Florida’s college football teams every day.

You’re all signed up!

Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.

Explore all your options

Number of the day

1-for-32 Rays CF Kevin Kiermaier over his past eight games, with 13 strikeouts.

Odorizzi "good to go" for return

Rays RHP Jake Odorizzi is excited to return from the DL tonight, having been sidelined by a left hamstring issue that forced him out of his April 15 start but which he never considered serious, then hit by a ball during a Wednesday simulated game. "Good to go," Odorizzi said. "I'm ready to get out of jail, ready to get back out there." Adding to Odorizzi's excitement is the chance to hit under NL rules, and he will be using a Kevin Kiermaier bat. The Rays have to drop a pitcher to make room for Odorizzi; RHP Ryan Garton seems most likely.

International incident

Rays rookie Chih-Wei Hu will be thrilled to see countryman Wie-Yin Chen pitch in person in the majors tonight when he starts for the Marlins. Even better would be for Hu to get in the game, as they are the only two current big-leaguers from Taiwan. "This will be a very big story in Taiwan," Hu said. "I look at him like a superstar. I'm excited to see him pitch. It's a big thing for me and it's a big thing for Taiwan. A bigger thing would be if he's pitching and I'm pitching in the game. That would be really cool." Hu said that before leaving for spring training, he told Chen, "I'll see you in the big leagues." Tonight, he will.


. Tonight and Tuesday's games will air on Fox Sports Florida with the Marlins TV crew, then the Rays crew will work the Wednesday and Thursday games at the Trop on Fox Sports Sun. Tonight is also the latest deadline in the oft-extended talks to keep Fox Sports Sun on Spectrum cable.

. Advanced Class A SS Jake Cronenworth singled in his second at-bat to extend his hitting streak to 24 games over two seasons; the Rays record is 28 games in the '99 season by Aubrey Huff at Double-A Orlando.

. Though starter Aaron Sanchez left after one inning due to a fingernail issues, the Jays used six relievers to limit the Rays to four hits, and log 10 strikeouts, including four by Rickie Weeks.