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Rays’ Chris Archer feels good, expects to start Sunday

Rays notes | The sore left hip that forced the starter out of Sunday’s game was not an issue during Wednesday’s bullpen session.
Chris Archer said he felt good while throwing an 18-pitch bullpen session Wednesday afternoon.
Chris Archer said he felt good while throwing an 18-pitch bullpen session Wednesday afternoon. [ MIKE CARLSON | AP ]
Published Aug. 25
Updated Aug. 26

PHILADELPHIA — Chris Archer had reason to look relieved as he stood by the Rays dugout after throwing in the bullpen late Wednesday afternoon.

The 20-or-so pitch session went well. He felt good overall. And, most importantly, he said there were no issues from the left hip soreness that forced him out after the second inning of last Sunday’s game, his first in the majors since an April 10 forearm issue.

All of which positions him to make his next start as planned Sunday in Baltimore.

“My bullpen was good,” Archer said. “Long toss was good. So I think we’re thinking to stay on schedule and pitch on Sunday, barring any unusual soreness these next couple of days. But as of this moment, I think that’s the plan to stay on schedule.”

Which is why, after all the time and work Archer put in to get back, he was relieved to have apparently avoided another setback.

‘’I’m glad to check the box, for sure,” Archer said. “I even felt good immediately when I came out (Sunday), like after we started to do some treatment to help get that area just to calm down. So I’ve been optimistic the whole time, and this just reinforced the optimism.”

Pitching coach Kyle Snyder said the Rays will want to be sure there are no issues over the next couple days, but he was pleased with what he saw, as well as the velocity readings (86-87 mph) and other analytical data from their Trackman system.

“It was good,” Snyder said. “Intensity was better than his previous bullpen prior to his last outing, and I didn’t see any reservations from that standpoint. So I would expect to see him pitch here shortly.”

Lefty Josh Fleming will be available to cover multiple innings behind Archer on Sunday.

Brendan McKay’s season appears over

Brendan McKay’s season looks to be over due to a flexor strain. McKay worked his way through several setbacks in rehabbing from August 2020 left shoulder surgery to make three starts for Double-A Montgomery. He allowed 10 runs on 10 hits (five homers) in seven innings before being sidelined by the elbow issue. He received an injection of platelet rich plasma and will be shut down from any throwing for two-three weeks and then reevaluated. “I would highly likely expect for his season to be shut down,” manager Kevin Cash said.

More medical matters: Fairbanks, Feyereisen

Relievers Pete Fairbanks and J.P. Feyereisen, both out with shoulder issues, continue to show progress in rehab games at Triple-A Durham, and it’s possible one or both will be activated this weekend in Baltimore. There seems to be less optimism Matt Wisler (right middle finger inflammation) will be ready as hoped. Veteran David Robertson, signed Aug. 16, could also join the Rays soon. Infielder Jordan Luplow, rehabbing a left ankle strain, is a possibility to be added Saturday when eligible. He will play in a Florida Complex League game on Thursday.

Miscellany

• Wander Franco doubled to extend his on-base streak to 26 games, matching Al Kaline for fourth-longest among players 20 or younger in American League history.

• The Rays completed their team record-tying 12th sweep of 2021 and their fourth-ever season sweep of a team they faced multiple times.

• At 79-48, the Rays are 31 games over .500 for the first time since the penultimate day of the 2019 season.

• Nelson Cruz, 41, on Tuesday was the third player in history, per STATS LLC, to make his first career appearance at first base at 40 or older, joining Omar Vizquel (44 in 2011) and Luke Appling (43 in 1950).

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