PORT CHARLOTTE — Can RHP Chris Archer pitch in the World Baseball Classic and prepare as usual for the start of the season?
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He insists he can, heading into today's spring debut confident that while his routine won't be normal, the process won't be that different.
"Honestly, no," he said. "I've been trying to say that since the offseason. I'll throw two innings (today), three innings the next start (March 4) and depending how it goes and our final decision, I'll throw three or four innings in that game."
That game is the March 10 opener for Team USA against Colombia in Miami, with the big question being whether Archer will be at any risk pitching that early in the spring with the intensity and adrenaline of high-level competition.
He is confident that he won't be and that his standard spring routine doesn't need to change.
"I'm not thinking any different," he said. "I still have things I want to accomplish, whether I was going to the WBC or not. I'm not the type of pitcher that can just say, 'My first start of spring training I'm going to throw 80 percent, my next start 85.' Because if I'm not working at my game speed, I don't get much out of it."
If the United States advances from a bracket that also includes defending champion Dominican Republic and Canada, Archer will have to decide whether to pitch again for the U.S. team during the March 14-19 semifinal round in San Diego. That's not because of the workload but from the scheduling aspect, as he also wants to get lined up for what is expected to be his third straight opening day start for the Rays, on April 2.
Something to think about
Adjustments can be made, but right now the top four of the Rays rotation sets up as Chris Archer, lone lefty Blake Snell, Alex Cobb and Jake Odorizzi.
Number of the day
$1,595 New-client "special" price offered to Rays players by the elevee company for a custom-made suit, shirt, tie and pocket square.
Game report: Rays lose 7-2 to Pirates
Radar readings on the new Charlotte Sports Park scoreboard weren't working early, but RHP David Carpenter felt based on how the ball came out of his hand and hitter reactions that his velocity was better, as needed, during his quick first inning. Manager Kevin Cash agreed. … Top prospect SS Willy Adames was excited to make his first start in a big-league exhibition, but it showed as he booted the first ball hit to him. … RHP Danny Farquhar, who is out of options, left too many pitches up and got roughed up, allowing four runs on three hits and a walk to six batters. … Recently acquired C Jesus Sucre homered in his bid for a job.
Quote of the day
"We got our pitches in, that's for sure.”
Manager Kevin Cash, on a positive in the seven-run, 11-hit, six-walk performance Saturday against the Pirates
> With several of the 30 position players in camp being held back as they recover from injury, the Rays will have two minor-leaguers in today's starting lineup, OFs Joe McCarthy and Justin Williams.
> 3B Evan Longoria, who was out sick for two days last week, is likely to make his spring debut Tuesday or Wednesday.
> Touted RHP prospect Jose De Leon, acquired from the Dodgers for Logan Forsythe, is over his back tightness and is set to throw his second live BP today and pitch in his first game Wednesday or Thursday.
> Tickets are available for today's game, the first of three visits by the Red Sox.
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