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Changeup works well for Rays' Chris Archer in spring debut

Chris Archer says he felt he had good, slider-like movement on his changeups.
Chris Archer says he felt he had good, slider-like movement on his changeups.
Published Mar. 9, 2015

PORT CHARLOTTE — Throwing 37 pitches over two innings, Rays RHP Chris Archer got in plenty of work in his spring debut Sunday.

And he said he couldn't have been more pleased with how it went, specifically how well he threw his changeup and quickened his delivery from the stretch.

"I'm really happy with the progress today," he said.

Overall, Archer — so eager to get out there that he was in full uniform by 11:40 a.m. for the 1:05 start — allowed a run on three hits and a two-out walk in the 5-4 loss to the Phillies, throwing 27 strikes and clocking as high as 97 mph.

Archer was quite pleased with his changeup — a distant third option to his fastball and slider — after throwing it about 10 times, getting several swing and misses and noting it had similar downward movement to his slider. "I was happy with every single one of them," he said. "It was hard to decipher which one it was, which for me is huge."

He and manager Kevin Cash both said he was better in limiting the running game by quickening his delivery.

"He should feel really good about the way the ball was coming out of his hand," Cash said.

MEDICAL MATTERS: OF Brandon Guyer said his mild oblique/lat strain "felt better" and he still didn't consider it serious, but he also is still receiving treatment and unsure when he will get back on the field. … DH/OF John Jaso said his right shin, bruised and swollen after being hit by a pitch Saturday from A.J. Burnett, felt better, but he was scratched from today's lineup, replaced by Kevin Kiermaier. Jaso said he hoped to return Tuesday, figuring with the Rays playing two games he had a good chance to make his eagerly awaited outfield debut. "It's my time to shine," he said. "I love split squad games now." … INF Nick Franklin said he went through a full workout Sunday with no issues from the mild hip strain that forced him from Saturday's game. He is scheduled to leadoff and play shortstop today.

NO JAKIN': INF Jake Elmore continues to make a good impression in his bid for a backup/utility job, making a pair of impressive plays at shortstop. "Jake's an interesting player," Cash said. "He gives you a good at-bat and he can play everywhere. We're going to get him out in the outfield soon."

GAME ACTION: The Rays (1-2-1) were hitless into the fifth inning — 14 up and 14 down — until OF Joey Butler singled. … LHP Jeff Beliveau had quite the messy spring debut, allowing three runs in the seventh on the combination of three hits, a throwing error on a bunt, a bases-loaded hit batter and a walk. … Each team made three errors. … RHP Jose Dominguez, the hard thrower acquired from the Dodgers, debuted with a 1-2-3 sixth, striking out two. "There's more in the tank," Cash said. "For him to just coast at 94 mph, that's pretty good." … 2B Asdrubal Cabrera made a nice leaping play. … Down 4-0 through seven and 5-2 in the ninth, the Rays rallied, with another big hit by Tampa's Corey Brown, for two in the ninth.

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CONTRACT TALK: The Rays signed all 24 of their pre-arbitration players, including RHPs Brad Boxberger and Jake Odorizzi, to one-year deals, which are usually slotted based on service time at slightly above the major-league minimum of $507,500.

MISCELLANY: The Rays used a defensive shift several times Sunday and Cash said they will be "very aggressive shifting, with reason behind it obviously." … RHP Burch Smith starts Tuesday's home game against the Pirates and RHP Matt Andriese the road game vs. Boston. … Sunday's attendance was 5,837.