Rays Spring Training March 8

Chris Archer said he threw 10 changeups in Sunday’s start. The right-hander is trying to improve the pitch this spring to offset his fastball and slider. Archer hit 97 mph with his fastball, of which Archer said: “Normally in Spring Training that’s where I’m at [with velocity].”

Kevin Cash noted that Archer was quicker to the plate, too.

The Rays looked a little sloppy in the field during Sunday’s loss to the Phillies, prompting Cash to note: “We can do a little bit better catching the ball-wise.”

The Rays manager spoke highly of utility-man Jake Elmore. “He gives you a good at bat and can play everywhere,” Cash said.

Corey Brown is now 3-for-4 with two doubles and a home run. Fellow non-roster invitee Joey Butler got the Rays’ first hit Sunday and is hitting .375.  “[Brown] and Joey Butler are midseason locked in,” Cash said.

Cal Ripken Jr. threw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to Sunday’s game at Charlotte Sports Park. The Rays had a little fun with the Hall of Famer by having Boog Powell — no relation to the great Boog Powell who once played for the Orioles — catch Ripken’s toss.

This week is spring break, which brings Charlotte County Public Schools Employee Appreciation Week. The Rays are offering the approximately 2,200 teachers and employees of the Charlotte County Public School system free tickets to one of three games, including Sunday’s, March 10 vs. Pittsburgh or March 12 vs. Toronto.

–Bill Chastain

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