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Rays to take on Red Sox with Chris Archer on mound

It will be the first game action for the veteran right-hander since last spring with Pittsburgh.
Rays pitcher Chris Archer will make his first exhibition appearance of the spring today in Fort Myers against the Red Sox.
Rays pitcher Chris Archer will make his first exhibition appearance of the spring today in Fort Myers against the Red Sox. [ WILL VRAGOVIC | Tampa Bay Rays ]
Published Mar. 12
Updated Mar. 12

The Rays are headed back to Fort Myers today to take on the Red Sox, with first pitch at 1:05 and nine innings scheduled.

Chris Archer will make his first exhibition appearance of the spring, having progressed from bullpens to live batting practice to simulated games as he returns from June thoracic outlet surgery that wiped out his 2020 season in Pittsburgh.

Archer became a free agent when the Pirates declined an $11 million option and signed a one-year, $6.5 million deal with the Rays, who traded him to Pittsburgh in July 2018.

Archer has looked good and said he feels good, according to manager Kevin Cash. He is slated to work two innings today.

“I‘m really excited to see him out there,” Cash said.

Also Friday:

* Cash said Randy Arozarena took some drastic action after a slow start to the spring: “He didn’t get a couple hits, so he went and shaved all his hair off. So that’s a good thing. I like that, because that tells us that he’s still very locked in and highly motivated, that Randy does not like going 0-for. So if cutting his hair gets him out of that, go ahead.”

* Cash didn’t have much to say about experimental rule changes that will be used in the minor leagues this season, including limits on shifting infielders, increasing the size of the bases and reducing allowed pickoff throws. “If it’s with the intent to speed up the game or the time of game, probably I would be in more support of it,” he said.

Here is the Rays lineup, with Wander Franco starting at shortstop:

And for the Red Sox: