5/30/2013 11:59 P.M. ET
Prospect Archer to rejoin Rays, start Saturday
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com
MIAMI -- Chris Archer, ranked No. 4 on the Rays' Top Prospect list, will be recalled to start Saturday's game against the Indians in Cleveland.
The 24-year-old right-hander will be making his first start of the season for the Rays after going 1-3 with a 4.60 ERA while striking out 36 in 29 1/3 innings in six appearances in 2012. He is 5-3 with a 3.96 ERA in 10 starts for Triple-A Durham this season.
"Archie did a nice job up here last year," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "Seems like we're giving everybody an audition for later in the season, so I kind of like it, actually."
The announcement that Archer will start Saturday capped a week of pitching moves that began when Jake Odorizzi received the news he'd been optioned back to Durham after making two starts for Tampa Bay. According to the team, that move was made necessary because of a bullpen that was running on fumes from overuse.
Alex Colome was recalled to bolster the 'pen, but two factors quickly changed that situation.
First, Roberto Hernandez pitched 8 2/3 innings Wednesday night to give the bullpen a rest in the Rays' 3-1 win over the Marlins, rendering Colome unnecessary in that one. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, Alex Cobb quietly nursed a split fingernail on his right middle finger.
Cobb's situation prompted the Rays to make other plans for Friday night, when he was scheduled to start against the Indians. Rather than have Cobb make his start, they opted to push back Matt Moore, Thursday night's scheduled starter.
The Rays then decided to start Colome against the Marlins on Thursday night, which turned out to be a fortuitous move. After Colome allowed just an unearned run in 5 2/3 innings in a 5-2 win over Miami, Tampa Bay announced its decision to start Archer Saturday. He is expected to join the team Friday in Cleveland.
Cobb expects to make next start on Tuesday
MIAMI -- Alex Cobb told reporters Thursday that he will make his next start Tuesday against the Tigers in Detroit.
Originally, the right-hander had been scheduled to start Friday night in Cleveland, but the Rays moved him back in the rotation due to a crack in the fingernail of his right middle finger.
Cobb can still throw fastballs without irritating the affected area, so he can continue to throw. The problem has come when he's thrown his curveball and changeup. In Sunday's start against the Yankees, the area began to bleed for the first time, which raised a red flag.
"I just think the offspeed pitches, both of them, come off that finger," Cobb said. "And I've been throwing a fair amount of those recently. I got a little crack there and kept throwing. And some of the rosin and stuff I use gets in there and dries it out and doesn't allow it to heal back up properly. That kind of prolonged it throughout the week.
"I've had it for a couple of starts and been able to pitch through it. But this time, I'm not able to throw my curveball with it, and that's when the red flag came up a little bit. I've been able to pitch through the pain a little bit, but now we don't want it to linger any longer. We just want to get through it."
Even though Cobb said he's been told he'll start Tuesday, he allowed that he would know more after he throws his next bullpen session.
"Hopefully, I'd be able to throw it Saturday," Cobb said. "If I can throw my offspeed pitches, I'll do that. I just don't want to aggravate it right now. I just want to let it heal and make sure it is ready for that. The precaution here is to make sure it doesn't linger through four, five, six starts. Just beat it now and hopefully put it in the past once I'm able to pitch again."
Included in the collateral damage from Cobb's situation was Matt Moore being moved back a day. Rather than start Thursday in Miami, Moore will start Friday in Cleveland. Cobb teased that it might take a while for Moore to forgive him for taking the bat out of his hands Thursday night. Moore would have hit against the Marlins in the National League park had he started Thursday night.
"I'm going to hear about it all year for sure," Cobb said. "I didn't expect the trickle-down effect of him not being able to hit. That wasn't part of the plan."
Zobrist finding groove at the plate
MIAMI -- Ben Zobrist slowly seems to be finding what has been lost in the batter's box. He has hit in four consecutive games -- three of which he's hit in the leadoff spot -- and he carried a .247 batting average into Thursday night's action.
Like all Major League hitters, Zobrist understands that success with the bat is a fleeting experience.
"Obviously, the confidence is there," Zobrist said. "It's frustrating, though. It always seems like it takes a long time to get into that sync, find that rhythm. That's just the way it's been for me that last couple of years. I'm doing my best to try and make that not take as long as it does. But it is what it is.
"At least I've still been able to be productive to help the club. And we've been hitting the ball really well as a club. It's nice we've got guys who have been hitting so well that we can still score a lot of runs."
Zobrist struggled the first two months of the 2012 season before finding an approach that sustained him the rest of the season.
"You just do the same thing as long as it's working for you," Zobrist said. "At some point, it runs out -- for me anyways."
Zobrist noted that the shelf life of a good swing thought can last as long as two months.
"That's about as long as one particular swing thought has lasted for me," Zobrist said. "But then you work on the same things in the offseason and rarely does it transfer. For me, it's a moving target. It always does [have an expiration date].
"I think it's just because naturally your body, you know things move from order to disorder. You have to try and find that balance in there that not only enables you to take the right swing, but also see the ball and swing at the right pitches. That in itself can be hard enough because of the caliber of pitching we're facing on a nightly basis."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.