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Rays' Hellickson headed to DL; Archer makes MLB debut

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Published:   |   Updated: March 18, 2013 at 06:15 PM
WASHINGTON -

The Tampa Bay Rays have had better starts to the work week.

On Tuesday, one day after third baseman Evan Longoria cut short his minor-league rehab assignment because of discomfort in his injured left hamstring, the team announced right-handed starter Jeremy Hellickson will miss at least two starts because of fatigue in his pitching shoulder.

Hellickson will be officially placed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday, making him the 13th Ray on the DL since the start of the season and the ninth currently on the DL.

Right-hander Chris Archer, who joined the team Tuesday, will make his major-league debut tonight against the Nationals.

Hellickson said an X-ray on the shoulder did not show any damage, and he expects to start against the Tigers on June 30.

"I think it's exactly what it is, a little precautionary rest," Hellickson said. "They thought it was a better idea to rest it now rather than make these next few starts and have it get worse."

Hellickson said the fatigue became an issue Sunday while throwing his between-start bullpen session. Rays manager Joe Maddon said he first heard of it after Hellickson's last start Thursday afternoon against the Mets.

Hellickson allowed career-highs in runs (eight) and hits (nine) in just 3 2/3 innings. While his velocity wasn't an issue, Hellickson was struggling with his command, which Maddon said is normally a result of shoulder fatigue.

"He wasn't highly pleased about it, but I talked to him about it and just tried to reason with him, the whole logic behind it, because he really believes he can pitch (tonight)," Maddon said. "But we just like the idea of backing off right now, and that's it. We don't consider it critical, we just want to make sure he's able to pitch in the World Series this year."

The American League Rookie of the Year last season, Hellickson is 4-3 in 13 starts in 2012, with 30 walks in 78 1/3 innings. Although his ERA is a respectable 3.35, Hellickson also has allowed a team-high 14 home runs this season.

Archer was one of the five players obtained from the Cubs in the Matt Garza trade.

"I don't think words can really describe your major league debut, especially being a starter," he said. "I got drafted in 2006 and it's been a dream of mine since I was real small to do this. I know only a small percentage of people get to do it, and I'm going to make the most of it."

Archer, who was 4-8 with a 4.81 ERA at Triple-A Durham, will end the streak of 232 Rays games started by a pitcher drafted by the organization. The last non-drafted pitcher to start was Garza on Sept. 30, 2010.

Archer, who hasn't hit since 2010 when he was in Double A, also gets to face RHP Stephen Strasburg, he of the 100-mph fastball.

"That's incredibly cruel," Maddon said. "That's ultimate cruel. That is like grand mal cruel right there. It shouldn't be that way."

 

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