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Rays right-hander Chris Archer’s comeback is on again

An MRI on the right-hander’s hip comes back “very clean,” manager Kevin Cash says.
Rays 32-year-old right-hander Chris Archer, out since early April, is expected to pitch again at Triple-A Durham as early as Friday.
Rays 32-year-old right-hander Chris Archer, out since early April, is expected to pitch again at Triple-A Durham as early as Friday. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
Published Aug. 4
Updated Aug. 4

ST. PETERSBURG — The attempted big-league return of Rays right-hander Chris Archer, which evolved from storyline to saga weeks ago, is expected to resume later this week.

Manager Kevin Cash said Wednesday morning an MRI on Archer’s sore hip came back “very clean,” allowing the 32-year-old to resume throwing as early as this weekend.

“He had an injection and he’s going to probably resume throwing on Friday, so that’s good news,” Cash said prior to Wednesday’s 4-3 win against the Mariners.

“If all goes well, the arm should not be shut down, so we’ll get him back out there assuming that he feels good and get him back to Durham to where he hopefully picks a three- or four-inning outing right out of the gate.”

Out since April due to right forearm and family issues, Archer threw 31 pitches, allowing three runs, in one inning Sunday before he was taken off the mound in an outing for Triple-A Durham. Cash wouldn’t speculate on how many more outings Archer, 32, will require before a return to the Rays.

“He’s going to pitch, and if we can get him three innings or a fourth up, I really have no idea how we’ll work that out,” Cash said. “A lot would go on his feedback after his outing.”

When will Cruz click?

New Rays slugger Nelson Cruz, still trying to find a groove 10 games into his Tampa Bay career, said Wednesday his recent struggles have nothing to do with the left-foot bruise he sustained early last week.

“Maybe the first few games, but I feel fine now,” said Cruz, briefly sidelined after fouling a ball off his left foot in a July 27 loss to the Yankees. “I don’t have any problem with that anymore. I feel I can put my weight on the back leg the way I normally do, so no excuse.”

Cruz, who had the day off Wednesday, is batting .184 (7-for-38) with two home runs and 12 strikeouts in 10 games since being acquired late last month in a trade with the Twins. He’s hitless in his last five at-bats and went 2-for-8 in the series against Seattle.

His initial homestand in Tampa Bay “didn’t go the way I expected,” he said. “That’s the way baseball goes sometimes. I keep doing my things, prepare for the games and do my routines and all the things that have made me successful through the years, so hopefully that will change.”

McHugh back on mound

Right-handed reliever Collin McHugh, on the injured list since late July with arm fatigue, gave a thumbs-up after throwing 21 pitches on the bullpen mound at Tropicana Field before Wednesday’s game. McHugh could be activated at some point this weekend, when the Rays are in Baltimore.

The update on fellow right-hander Pete Fairbanks, placed on the injured list July 29 with right-shoulder inflammation, wasn’t as promising as the club embarks on a nine-game road swing.

“He threw (Wednesday) and felt okay at best,” Cash said. “So he will not be traveling.”

Odds and ends

Opening day starter Tyler Glasnow underwent successful Tommy John surgery Wednesday in Texas, where Dr. Keith Meister performed the procedure. Glasnow most likely will be out until 2023. ... The Rays completed their nine-game homestand (against the Yankees, Red Sox and Mariners) with a 5-4 mark, improving to 35-22 at Tropicana Field this year. ... Brandon Lowe’s leadoff double in the third inning snapped an 0-for-11 stretch. ... Left-hander Josh Fleming’s five-inning winning decision Wednesday was his sixth in a row at Tropicana Field. It’s the longest home win streak by a Rays pitcher since Yonny Chirinos won a club-record-tying eight consecutive home decisions from Aug. 9, 2018 to May 27, 2019. ... The Rays now have 32 come-from-behind wins this season, second-most in the majors.

Contact Joey Knight at jknight@tampabay.com. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls.

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