Rays notes: Archer doesn't want to consider life without Price
JUN 18, 2014 2:45p ET
The possibility seems likely. If the Rays continue to drift in the postseason discussion -- before their loss Tuesday to the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field, they had a 2.4 percent chance to make the playoffs, per Baseball Prospectus -- then the 2012 American League Cy Young Award winner is assumed to be an attractive trade piece before the July 31 non-waiver deadline.
Price's potential absence is particularly hard to grasp for right-hander Chris Archer. Archer, who starts Thursday against the Houston Astros at Tropicana Field, has considered Price a mentor since debuting with the Rays in June 2012.
''Him not being here -- I try to keep that out of my mind,'' Archer said. ''Coming into this year, I knew that at some point within the next two years he was going to be gone. So I was trying to soak up everything. It's not even like we have to talk all the time. I just watch him. I watch how he handles his business, especially in the game. Nothing ever fazes him.''
Archer has referenced Price's influence on him, sometimes unsolicited, on numerous occasions throughout the past two seasons. Price was present April 2 at Tropicana Field to congratulate Archer after the young pitcher received his six-year extension worth $25.5 million guaranteed. A mentor-mentee relationship is clear.
But with the Rays' extended slide comes uncertainty about Price's place in their future. Archer, for now, will try to take as much as he can from Tampa Bay's ace, who's making $14 million this season. Some of those lessons include observing how Price, who's 5-6 with a 3.93 ERA, rebounds from struggle.
''Every time I see him do it, it's encouragement, like, 'All right, I can be consistent,' '' said Archer, who's 3-4 with a 3.40 ERA in 14 starts this year. ''Thirty-three starts, every time I throw the baseball, regardless of the situation, I can have the same mentality.''
DEJESUS FEELS FINE AFTER RUN-IN WITH WALL
Outfielder David DeJesus experienced no ill effects from colliding with the left-field wall during Chris Davis' grand slam in the top of the third inning of the Rays' loss Tuesday. The home run, which came when the ball hit the foul pole, was estimated at 321 feet.
It appeared catchable, but DeJesus insisted that he didn't misplay the ball.
''I felt good after the game,'' DeJesus said. ''I've been in stuff like that before.''
Certainly, he has. DeJesus landed on the 15-day disabled list last June after sustaining a right shoulder sprain at Citi Field as part of the Chicago Cubs. In that instance, he collided with the center-field wall in the bottom of the third during a victory over the New York Mets after a fly ball from Juan Lagares.
DeJesus, who received another start in left field Wednesday, was in good spirits despite the close call.
''I'm fine,'' he said. ''Got a nice massage, and I'm ready to roll.''
HELLICKSON TO HAVE ANOTHER REHAB START, GUYER CLOSE
Right-hander Jeremy Hellickson was roughed up in his third rehab start Tuesday, but Rays manager Joe Maddon found a positive in the appearance: strong velocity.
Maddon said Hellickson reached 92 mph on his fastball in the start for Triple-A Durham in Louisville. Still, Hellickson's line was unsightly: 2 2/3 innings, seven runs (four earned), 12 hits, one walk and two strikeouts in 76 pitches. Maddon said Hellickson, recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his pitching elbow since late January, will require at least one more rehab start.
''I heard that he was up to 92 miles an hour, that the fastball was actually pretty good,'' Maddon said. ''Obviously, he did get hit around a little bit, but that's primarily what I heard. I just wanted to know at what level he threw velocity-wise, indicating the strength of his arm. It sounds like it's there. ... I'm not really that bent out of shape about performance right yet.''
Outfielder Brandon Guyer, meanwhile, seems to be close to a return. Playing in left field Tuesday for Durham, he went 2 for 3 with a double, two walks and two runs scored. On the disabled list with a left thumb fracture since May 26, he's 4 for 16 with two doubles and five walks in four rehab games.
Still, Maddon remained vague about when Guyer would appear in the Rays' lineup again.
''Guyer is doing well,'' Maddon said. ''He's doing well. And hopefully, we're going to make a decision very soon on him. But he's doing really well.''
-- Reliever Kirby Yates continues to make an impression in his short time with the Rays. On Tuesday, he allowed one walk and struck out three in two innings of work. In four appearances since his debut June 7 against the Seattle Mariners, he has allowed no runs, just two hits and two walks while striking out six in five innings. A secret to his consistency: Taking advice to heart from bullpen veterans such as Jake McGee and Joel Peralta.
''Just don't change,'' Yates said of what he was told. ''Don't change a thing. Just whatever you did to get you here has worked, so there's no point in you changing and trying to adjust your game plan or anything. Just keep doing what you're good at. They just keep telling me, 'Your stuff is going to translate.' ''
-- Maddon said the Rays can expect more spring-training-like drills before games against the Houston Astros on Thursday and Friday at Tropicana Field. He was pleased with the pregame effort Tuesday, though the Rays lost hours later. It's an attempt to sharpen his team's focus before the All-Star break.
''It was really good,'' Maddon said. ''I thought our work was spectacular.''
-- What is it about Baltimore? Entering Wednesday's series finale, the Rays were 1-6 against the Orioles this season and had been outscored 33-18. The teams meet again in a four-game set at Camden Yards from June 27-29. After Wednesday, Baltimore doesn't return to Tropicana Field until a three-game series from Sept. 5-7.