Chris Archer is back in a familiar environment, eager to restore himself to the Tampa Bay Rays.
The 32-year old righthanded man is three seasons away from a two-time All-Star and the ace of a rotation that the AL champions renew after losing to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series last fall.
Archer, who was with Tampa Bay from 2012 to 2018, signed a one-year $ 6.5 million contract to rejoin the Rays after missing the pandemic-shortened 2020 season with the Pittsburgh Pirates while recovering from a surgery to relieve the symptoms of neurogenic thoracic exhaust. syndrome.
The Rays, who have made it to the playoffs for the past two seasons, traded him in with Pirates on July 31, 2018, as part of a deal that brought Tampa Bay right-handed Tyler Glasnow, outfielder Austin Meadows and minor league pitching prospect Shane Baz.
Archer has not pitched in a Major League game since August 2019. He went 6-12 with a 4.92 ERA over 33 starts with Pittsburgh and is excited to have a second chance with his former team, which continues to contribute to the pitching staff. .
Veteran right-handed Collin McHugh, who signed out of Boston last season while recovering from a bendable load in his throwing arm, closed a $ 1.8 million one-year deal announced Monday.
Meanwhile, free agent Chaz Roe re-signed for another year, $ 1.15 million after missing most of 2020 with elbow pain.
To make room on the 40-man squad, right-handers Yonny Chirinos (Tommy John surgery) and Oliver Drake (right flexor tendon load) were placed on the 60-day injured list.
Archer jokes that it was okay not to have to use GPS to find his way to spring training in Port Charlotte, Florida.
“The familiarity, the comfort is astonishing. … There are some new players, some new faces on the player side, but the staff is pretty much the same, ”said Archer.
“It's quite a cool dynamic. There are some younger guys who have some admiration for me, but I really admire what these guys have been up to for the past two years,” he added. “It's really a nice balance. . "
Archer is 60-80 with a 3.86 ERA in 212 career appearances over parts of eight seasons. He was an All-Star with the Rays in 2015 and 2017 and is fourth on the club's career list in wins (54), third in innings pitched (1063) and second in starts (177) and strikeouts (1146).
"We're all really excited for Arch. He seems to be in a really good place physically and mentally," said manager Kevin Cash. look like him and love to come to the baseball field to compete and play. "
Archer has been a full-fledged training participant since joining the camp and is aiming for the first week of March for his first appearance at the exhibition.
“ It's colored in & # 39; & # 39 ;, the right-hander, who was vying for a spot in a rotation replacing two starters after declining an option on right-handed Charlie Morton and trading left-handed Blake Snell – moves that Glasnow in the role of number 1 starter.
"My gratitude clearly comes from being healthy … but also just the chance to do what we do," said Archer, who rehabilitated with the Pirates in California.
"Every day that went by, and as my health got better," he added that he wasn't at the game last summer, "I kept getting hungrier and hungrier."