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Rays' rotation suddenly razor-thin

The SportsXchange

TAMPA -- It wasn't that long ago that one of the Tampa Bay Rays' perceived "problems" was having too many good starting pitchers.

Now they may have trouble getting through the next week.

Alex Cobb is still working his way back from the concussion resulting from being hit by a line drive on June 15, and then a residual blister issue, and the Rays had to put left-handed All-Star Matt Moore on the disabled list with a sore elbow.

And then on Wednesday, rookie Chris Archer left his start with tightness in his forearm. Team officials seemed confident it was "nothing serious," and Archer said he expected to make his next start next Tuesday.

But the Rays are also going to be extremely cautious with a 24-year-old prized arm. Archer was making his first start since winning the American League pitcher and rookie of the month awards on Monday.

Manager Joe Maddon pulled Archer immediately in the second inning after catcher Jose Molina had noticed Archer grimacing after a couple of pitches. When Archer acknowledged there was some tightness, Maddon had heard enough.

"Whenever a young pitcher tells you that, I'm not gonna mess around,'' Maddon said. "We believe he's going to be fine. He's probably going to be able to make his next start.''

If not, the Rays will probably have to summon someone from the minors, perhaps Jake Odorizzi, or use one of their long relievers to start.

That's because while both Cobb and Moore hope to return during the next homestand, neither would be ready by Tuesday.

Cobb is scheduled to make a second rehab start Friday night for Class-A Charlotte at Fort Myers. If it goes as expected he would be in line to rejoin the rotation on Aug. 15, the first day he is eligible to come off the 60-day disabled list.

Moore hopes to throw off a mound for the first time this weekend but would need at least one more session early next week before being cleared to return, and then several days rest.

--Is there anything rookie outfielder Wil Myers can't do?

It doesn't appear like it.

In the two months since his promotion with plans to protect him in terms of where he hits and how often he played, the Rays have quickly made him a mainstay in the middle of their lineup as he has moved him into the cleanup spot

Then on Wednesday, with starting centerfielder Desmond Jennings on the disabled list, they started Myers in center and he made a tremendous running catch to show what he could do.

Maddon had little doubt Myers could handle it, "Because he told me he can," Maddon said. "He's very confident about it - I've used that word with him a lot. He's done it, he's very comfortable with it, and I have a lot of confidence in him.'"

Myers actually played more in center field than in right field (where he normally starts for the Rays) or in left over the previous two minor-league seasons after the Royals shifted him from catcher.

"I feel good out there," Myers said of center. "It's easier in the sense of getting a read on left and right obviously, but as far a line drive right at you it's harder. But I like it better because I can take control out there. When I call a ball I know I've got it instead of listening for somebody to call me off. I enjoy centerfield a lot."

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