Chris Archer’s first start in Tampa Bay since the Rays traded him to Pittsburgh in July 2018, was highly anticipated. Could he regain the form that made him one of the more dominant pitchers in baseball a half-decade ago?

Gone are the black and blonde dreads that flew wildly in the air as Archer delivered pitches from his extensive repertoire. He’s simplified his arsenal as well as his haircut which is now short and sweet.

After a rough outing in relief during the season’s first week, Archer, who signed with Tampa as a free agent in the offseason —returning to the place where he blossomed into a two-time All-Star — only lasted 2 1/3 innings before departing with a 3-0 lead and right lateral forearm stiffness (tendinitis) in his arm.



After further evaluation, Archer isn’t expected to miss more than one start but was placed on the 10-day IL. 

“I thought it was just something that kind of comes and goes because things come and go as you start,” Archer said. “But it lingered, and I found myself altering how I was throwing a little and it just wasn’t worth it.”

Archer was actually looking very 2015-ish before he felt something fishy going on with his arm. He had four K’s, potent stuff and a 3-0 lead against a formidable Yankees lineup.

Archer says he tried to shake it off at first, but eventually did the safe thing and summoned catcher Francisco Mejia, with manager Kevin Cash and head athletic trainer Joe Benge to the mound.

“Fortunately, it’s nothing serious. But there’s definitely some tightness in there that I need to get out. So I’m glad that we took the precautions that we did. And I’m really glad the bullpen stepped up.”

The damage was minima, but this setback had got to be a bummer Archer missed all of last season following surgery to address neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome.

According to reports, this issue was on the outside of the elbow, away from the ligaments that tear and lead to serious problems like Tommy John surgery, so major concerns quickly turned into more anticipation of his next start.

The Rays aren’t expecting Archer to miss more than one start which is great news for a contending team that already has a decimated bullpen with four key relievers injured.



The family is wishing Archer a speedy recovery. Despite some recent injuries, he’s been a durable pitcher throughout most of his career and if he picks up where he left off on Saturday, then by midseason we could start calling this the “Chris Archer Comeback Tour”.

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