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Rays waiting for more info on whether Chris Archer will pitch again in 2021

After an exam Tuesday by Dr. Koco Eaton, the veteran right-hander plans to seek additional opinions.
Fans possibly have seen the last of Rays pitcher Chris Archer this season. Manager Kevin Cash says there is no definitive diagnosis on Archer beyond hip inflammation.
Fans possibly have seen the last of Rays pitcher Chris Archer this season. Manager Kevin Cash says there is no definitive diagnosis on Archer beyond hip inflammation. [ JOSE JUAREZ | AP ]
Published Sep. 14, 2021

Chris Archer had further evaluation Tuesday on his troublesome left hip, but the Rays still don’t know when, or if, the veteran right-hander will pitch again this season.

Archer was examined by team orthopedist Dr. Koco Eaton in St. Petersburg but plans to solicit opinions from other doctors before deciding on a plan. And with only 2 ½ weeks left in the regular season, that could mean he doesn’t get back on the mound this year.

“I think it’s a question, yeah,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said before Tuesday night’s game in Toronto. “I don’t think anything has been totally decided yet. Look, any of these guys that go down, hit the (injured list) at this point of the season, you can probably think like that on any of them.”

Cash said there was no definitive diagnosis on Archer beyond hip inflammation.

“I’m guessing Arch will speak with his agent and look to get as many opinions as possible, which is probably the right thing to do from Arch’s perspective,” Cash said. That may include circling back with the doctor who performed his left hip labrum and hernia surgery in November 2018.

The Rays did get good news Tuesday on rookie shortstop Wander Franco, whose initial rehab from Friday’s right hamstring strain is going well.

“(Medical coordinator Paul Harker) is really, really pleased with Wander,” Cash said. “The hope is that he’s hitting off a tee (Wednesday). Maybe getting on the field by the weekend when we get back. So a good sign there.” Franco is eligible to return Sept. 21.

Archer rejoined the Rays this season, signing a one-year deal for $6.5 million — third highest on the team — after sitting out the 2020 season with Pittsburgh following June thoracic outlet syndrome surgery.

Archer was excited to come back to the Rays, who traded him to the Pirates in July 2018, but his return has been frustrating to all.

He pitched only twice before being sidelined by a forearm injury April 10, then left the team with permission to be with his family in North Carolina; his mother, Donna, died May 1. He rejoined the Rays in late May and started pitching in games July 12. An Aug. 1 start for Triple-A Durham was cut short due to hip soreness, and that became an issue after he joined the Rays Aug. 22,

He left his first game after two innings, got through the next two, worked four and five innings, then left Saturday’s game after four innings again when the hip discomfort became too much to tolerate.

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