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Tampa Bay Rays notes: Archer shows great composure

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Published:   |   Updated: March 8, 2013 at 10:12 AM
BRADENTON -

It’s not often you find a pitcher pleased about walking two batters in an inning, but it was those walks and what happened immediately afterward that made Thursday’s outing a good one for RHP Chris Archer.

Archer sandwiched two walks around a strikeout during the sixth inning of the Rays’ 4-2 win against the Pirates at McKechnie Field. After the second walk, Archer got Pirates All-Star center fielder Andrew McCutchen to ground out for the final out of the inning.

The walks were the result of what Archer called a “mental lapse.”

“The most important part was damage control,” Archer said. “(Pitching coach Jim) Hickey said it best after the inning. He said it was a good bad inning. If that’s going to be considered a bad inning it’s pretty impressive.”

Those walks were the only blemishes in Archer’s three hitless innings. The way he bounced back impressed manager Joe Maddon.

“In the beginning, he was a little bit disheveled,” Maddon said. “He didn’t have a good arm stroke, and then all of a sudden he found it. It was kind of nice that he was challenged a bit, because he wasn’t as locked in as he had been, and of course you have to beat other teams when you’re not really locked in with everything, and I thought what he did was good, because he fought through some moments when he wasn’t really comfortable.”

Fuld out at least a week

Maddon said OF Sam Fuld is not expected to return to the lineup until the end of next week. Fuld hasn’t played since experiencing tightness in his right hamstring during Sunday’s game with the visiting Twins.

DH Luke Scott also left the game that afternoon because of tightness in his left hamstring. Maddon said Scott should return by the beginning of next week.

“(Head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield is) not classifying either one as a pull, more of a tightness,” Maddon said. “With Sam, it’s just that Sam relies on his legs a lot for his living so he wants to take a little more time to make sure. … Neither one seems to be awful by any means. (We’re) just being a little more cautious with Sam.”

Maddon said the setback should not impact Fuld’s spot on the roster as a backup outfielder.

“I really don’t think so,” Maddon said. “I’m not anticipating that at all.”

Cobb sharp again

RHP Alex Cobb turned in his second consecutive solid outing of the spring Tuesday when he held the Pirates to one hit over four innings. Cobb struck out five and did not walk a batter. He has allowed two hits and struck out 10 over his last seven innings.“The ball is moving a lot,” Maddon said. “You can see by the swings the ball has to be diving at the plate.”

Cobb broke out his cutter Thursday.

“Had some positive results and negative results,” Cobb said. “If I didn’t have a spot I would probably be a little hesitant to throw that pitch as much as I did (Thursday). Knowing that I do have a spot I was able to go out and attack with it.”

Game stuff

The Rays scored all their runs in the seventh inning with the help of a two-out throwing error by Pirates 3B Gaby Sanchez on a grounder by RF Wil Myers. 2B Tim Beckham had a pair of hits, both doubles. 1B Leslie Anderson had two hits, including a double. 3B Chris Gimenez raised his spring batting average to .500 with a pair of hits, including a double in the seventh inning.

Noteworthy

Maddon on INF Mike Fontenot: “Does he have a bad at-bat? I haven’t seem him have a bad at-bat.” Fontenot is batting .263 this spring. … LHP David Price is scheduled to start this afternoon against the visiting Phillies. 3B Evan Longoria will be in the lineup. RHP Kyle Farnsworth will make his first appearance of the spring. …. Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. will promote his children’s book, “Wild Pitch,” on Sunday at Charlotte Sports Park. He will throw out the first pitch and have a book signing from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.

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