Tampa Bay Rays
Rays notes: Archer's debut a retirement gift for Mom
Donna Archer worked her last day Friday as an administrative assistant at a rental car company in Raleigh, N.C., got in a car with her husband, Ron, and started the nearly nine-hour drive to Cleveland to see their son, Chris, pitch this afternoon for the Rays.
“She worked hard her whole life,” Archer said. “Definitely gave me a solid foundation, and for her to spend day one of her retirement watching me do what I love, she took me to all kinds of baseball games when I was younger, practices and everything; for her to do that on her retirement, I know she wouldn't rather be anywhere else.”
And neither would Archer, who is scheduled to make his season debut for the Rays in the stadium where he signed his first pro contract in July 2006. The Indians took him in the fifth round of the 2006 draft before trading him to the Chicago Cubs in December 2008.
“I always envisioned myself playing here, and to come back and actually play on the other side is pretty cool, maybe to show them what they're missing out on,” Archer said.
Archer will be added to the roster today and become the latest member of the Triple-A Durham Bulls to pitch for the Rays this season. He will be the third one to make a start, following RHP Jake Odorizzi and RHP Alex Colome.
That Archer is the fourth member of the Bulls rotation to reach the Rays (LHP Alex Torres worked a pair of games in relief last month) can be attributed to injuries to his lower right shin and right hip sustained when he was hit by comebackers.
Archer had to rebuild his arm strength, which he did.
Armed with better fastball command and an improved change-up, Archer said he's ready for his second go-round in the major leagues.
“The things I went down to work on, I definitely worked on,” Archer said. “They wanted me to solidify my fastball command, which is coming along, and also continue to work on my change-up, and that's coming a long way since day one of spring training.”
Archer was 1-3 with a 4.60 ERA last season in six games with the Rays, four starts. While Archer pitched well, Rays manager Joe Maddon said he needed to improve his fastball command and learn when to use his secondary pitches.
“A big part of it is, with our young guys, is understanding how to use their different weapons, how to use what pitch when and against whom,” Maddon said. “Having the game awareness to slow things down and do those kinds of things. For him, that was the next big challenge, because physically he can compete here. Mentally he can compete here. His pitch-ability needs to increase a little bit.”
Here comes the tarp Friday's game with the Indians was delayed 1 hour, 57 minutes because of heavy rain and thunder. It started at 9:02 p.m.
It was delayed again at 9:18 for 13 minutes. Play resumed at 9:31 but the teams played just 3 minutes before the tarp was put on the field again at 9:34.
Indians fans were treated for two-for-$1 hot dogs and watched the Orioles rally in the ninth inning against the Tigers on the stadium's video screen. The O's victory moved the Indians into a tie for first place in the AL Central with the Tigers.
Rodney's resurgence Maddon said he likes what he's seeing from closer Fernando Rodney, who has one win and two saves in his last four outings without allowing a hit.
Maddon said Rodney is locating his fastball better because he's throwing with a consistent arm slot.
“That's permitting the fastball to be a strike, and with that, the swagger is slowly coming back,” Maddon said. “I think the launching of the arrows are a little more demonstrative. I like it.”
Mr. Beliveau, again The Rays optioned Colome to Triple-A Durham on Friday and recalled LHP Jeff Beliveau to add a fresh arm to a tired bullpen. He arrived at 10:30 p.m. after a long day of travel delays.
Maddon said RHP Rodney, RHP Joel Peralta and LHP Jake McGee were not available for Friday's game.
“We like him,” Maddon said. “I keep reading the reports about him. He seems kind of interesting. A left-handed pitcher who gets out lefties and righties, strike thrower and good stuff, good makeup guy.”
Beliveau was called up May 19 in Baltimore in a similar situation. He didn't pitch that afternoon and was optioned back to Durham to make room for Odorizzi. He will likely head back to Durham to make room on the roster for Archer.
Noteworthy Durham C Chris Giminez injured his left hand and is on the disabled list, leaving the Rays a little thin at catcher should something happen at the major-league level. “No (kidding),” Maddon said. … On Thursday, Colome became the 12th American League pitcher since 1916 to strike out at least seven and not allow an earned run in his major-league debut. He joined Scott Kazmir as the only pitchers in team history to not allow an earned run during his major-league debut.