MLB

Chris Archer to return to Rays’ rotation Sunday

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays said they expect to activate right-hander Chris Archer from the 60-day injured list and start him in Sunday’s game against the White Sox at Tropicana Field.

“It’s nice to have him back in the conversation, back in the mix,’’ Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “Hopefully, Arch can get this season going. It has been a long time. We know if he’s right, he can certainly help us.’’

Archer went 4 2/3 innings in Tuesday’s rehabilitation outing at Triple-A Durham (three runs allowed, one hit, two walks, six strikeouts). He left his April 10 start against the Yankees with an elbow injury and missed extended time due to the death of his mother. During his comeback attempt this summer, he has also dealt with a left hip injury.

Cash has no expectations for how long Archer can pitch Sunday.

“We’ll gauge him, talk to Kyle [Snyder, pitching coach], see how the stuff is playing,’’ Cash said. “There’s not a hard line on anything. I don’t see us looking to get seven innings out of him. But if it’s going good, we’ll keep him out there.

“We’re trying to get a lane for him to get comfortable with some sort of routine. In fairness, there’s still more to be built up from. Naturally, we’re going to see an uptick in everything with him pitching in a big league game, at least we hope so. Then we’ll take it from there.’’

Archer, who was 54-68 during seven seasons with the Rays (2012-18), was traded to the Pirates on July 31, 2018. That deal sent right-hander Shane Baz — now the Rays’ top prospect — right-hander Tyler Glasnow and outfielder Austin Meadows to Tampa Bay.

Archer was 3-9 with a 5.19 ERA in 23 starts with the Pirates in 2019. He missed the 2020 season due to thoracic outlet surgery, then signed back with the Rays as a free agent on Feb. 9.

Patiño seeks rebound
Rays rookie right-hander Luis Patiño, set to start Saturday against the White Sox, wants to improve from his last outing, when he went just three innings and issued a career-high five walks in a 5-4 defeat against the Twins at Target Field.

“It was a strange game,’’ Patiño said through team interpreter Manny Navarro. “I think I overthought. I should’ve kept things simple. But you’ve just got to come back and be positive for your next outing.’’

Patiño labored through a 33-pitch first inning against the Twins while walking three of the first four batters.

“He just needs to limit the free passes,’’ Cash said. “Get back to what makes him good — attacking, throwing strikes, getting outs.’’

Odds and ends
• Designated hitter Nelson Cruz took some ground balls at first base. The Rays play a two-game Interleague series at the Phillies on Tuesday and Wednesday.

• In his third outing at Durham, right-handed reliever Nick Anderson (right elbow sprain) allowed two hits and one run while recording two outs. Anderson has been on the injured list since the start of Spring Training. “We should view it as Nick’s third outing of Spring Training,’’ Cash said. “I wouldn’t even be concerned with it. As we get closer to September, we’ll start valuing the stuff and the command. The other guys [on the IL] are ahead of him [in a timeline for coming back].’’

• After throwing live batting practice, right-hander Pete Fairbanks (right shoulder inflammation) will work Sunday at Durham.

• Catcher Mike Zunino was back in the lineup Friday after missing Thursday’s game against the Orioles with a toothache.


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