9/3/2013 10:33 P.M. ET
Rays rotation in 'good shape' for stretch run
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- Looking toward the remainder of the season and the health of his team's starting pitchers, Rays manager Joe Maddon observed: "I think they're all in pretty good shape.
"I think when it comes down to the starters, the guy I'm most concerned about is [rookie right-hander Chris Archer], because he's starting to move up into that unchartered territory with innings pitched as well as being young. Beyond that, [David Price is] good. [Matt] Moore's good. [Alex Cobb] is good. And [Jeremy Hellickson] had his rest. I think we're in pretty good shape."
Maddon noted there have been conversations regarding limits being put on Archer, but no decisions have been made.
"We may try to find him an extra day, regarding his work schedule," Maddon sad. "He's pretty much been on target the whole time."
Archer allowed five earned runs, including a two-run homer to Erick Aybar on Monday night and took the loss in the Angels' 11-2 win.
"Listen, this guy's been pitching great," Maddon said. "[Archer's performance Monday] really came down to the home run by Aybar. I mean, it was not awful. A part of it also was his inability to control the running game. That's been a bane throughout our group, not just him. So we have to get better at controlling the running game, period."
Archer said he thinks he feels the way everybody else is feeling.
"The normal fatigue," he said. "But I prepare in the offseason for this month of the season. Because the first few months you can get by without being in great shape, you can be in OK shape. I think the purpose of really going hard in the offseason and exhausting myself, and then in between starts once the season starts, is getting ready for September.
"Whenever I'm on the mound, I don't really feel anything as far as my body goes, and I'm 100 percent in tune and my body just follows my mind. Like last night I wasn't feeling fatigue, I just wasn't executing pitches. Maybe that's from fatigue, who knows. But I didn't feel tired physically."
Fuld calls mound debut 'bittersweet' experience
ANAHEIM -- The buzz inside the Rays' clubhouse Tuesday afternoon still belonged to outfielder Sam Fuld, who pitched to one batter in Monday night's 11-2 loss to the Angels and retired J.B. Shuck on a fly ball to center field.
"I think [bullpen members] were not really convinced that I was going to pitch, and neither was I," Fuld said. "It was still speculation at the time. So it was pretty funny and guys were surprised. ... It's weird. I never made that jog from the dugout to the bullpen. That was odd."
Fuld noted that Rays manager Joe Maddon had mentioned the possibility of him pitching in a game last week at Kansas City, but nothing came of that, which added to the idea that he would not get into the game. He noted that he did receive some good advice from bullpen coach Stan Boroski.
"Stan basically told me, 'If you want one piece of advice, just throw fastballs,'" Fuld said. "I was glad he said that because I probably would have tried to go out there and throw a bunch of curveballs. And I'd be in the training room right now."
Once he got the call to come into the game, Fuld described running to the mound from the bullpen as being an interesting experience.
"For the first time in my life, I was concerned about how I looked running," Fuld said. "How my tempo was, what my technique looked like. Completely unchartered water for me."
Shuck declined after the game to comment about the experience of batting against an outfielder. Fuld said that it was ironic getting Shuck out.
"Because the one guy I've been impressed with the most has been Shuck," Fuld said. "I think he's impressive. He seems to square everything up. So I think it's ironic I got him out."
Fuld described his outing as "bittersweet."
"It's fun to laugh about it. Maybe that's part of the whole deal, it can loosen everybody up a little bit," Fuld said. "Aside from the fact that we lost and we've been losing a lot lately, it's pretty cool to be able to say that [I've pitched in the Major Leagues]. I don't think I ever want it to happen again. I think once is enough. It'd be like riding a roller coaster for me, I have yet to do it. I'd probably do it once in my life and say that's enough."
Maddon smiled after hearing Fuld's "once is enough" comment.
"We'll give him like 12 months off and bring him back next year," Maddon said.
Hellickson fine after getting struck during BP
ANAHEIM -- Jeremy Hellickson returned to the team after a week's hiatus only to get hit on the back of his left shoulder during Monday's batting practice at Angel Stadium.
"I'm not sure [who hit it]," Hellickson said. "I got a 'heads up.' Got me right in the back of the left shoulder."
Hellickson allowed that his shoulder is a "little sore" but that he's got all of his "range of motion" and it won't affect his start Wednesday night against the Angels.
"It didn't hurt as much [initially] because I was pretty mad about it," said Hellickson, who was optioned to the Minors last week to rest for the stretch run. "I'd been on the field for five minutes. Just got back [with the team], been on the field for five minutes and that happens."
Fortunately for Hellickson, this mishap was nothing like the one early in the 2012 season when a batting practice home run by Delmon Young struck him on the head in the visitors' bullpen in Detroit. Hellickson had to go through a rigorous set of concussion tests, as required by Major League Baseball, in order to get back on the field.
Of course, Young is now one of Hellickson's teammates. When asked if Young had hit the ball that hit him in the shoulder Monday, Hellickson said that it was not.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.