by Steve Carney
The Tampa Bay Rays had a rain-shortened practice session Thursday at their Spring Training complex in Port Charlotte.
Among the pitchers getting their first bullpen of the Spring in was Chris Archer, who had the opportunity to throw to Robinson Chirinos, and said he enjoys working with the young Venezuelan because of their time together in Tennessee in 2010.
"At that time, he was the best catcher I'd ever thrown to," Archer said Thursday. "So naturally, I feel very comfortable with him. He feels comfortable with me. Toward the end of my bullpen, I said 'Let's do some combos,' and it was just like the old days. It was just like 2010. We were just mixing it up, right on the same page."
Manager Joe Maddon is pleased with how the staff looks this early in camp.
"Honestly, it's really fun to watch," the Rays skipper said after Thursday's workout. "It's exciting to see that many good arms in one spot. It's exciting to have that kind of competition."
MYERS COMES TO CAMP: OF Wil Myers, the highlight of the December trade that send pitchers James Shields and Wade Davis to the Kansas City Royals, reported to the Rays complex for the first time Thursday to work out with the other position players who are already in camp. He impressed a number of guys (forgive the pun) right off the bat.
"That's some pop right there," Sean Rodriguez, who was in the outfield when Myers was hitting, said afterwards. "He was driving the ball the other way, one-hopping the centerfield wall. That's nice to see right there, especially having lost Shields. I mean, he hasn't played in the big leagues yet, but I can see where Andrew [Friedman] and their excitement was when they picked him up."
"He was Niemann-like standing in the cage," outfielder Desmond Jennings joked.
The youngster from High Point, NC also had a number of people from the front office watching as he took his first swings, but he took it all in stride.
"I didn't really notice it too much. I didn't want to take it as added pressure. I just wanted to go get my work in."
14 of 23 position players (excluding catchers) have now reported to camp, with infielder Ryan Roberts showing up late Thursday.
PERALTA ENLISTS AID FOR SANDWICHES: Reliever Joel Peralta missed his scheduled bullpen session Wednesday because of neck stiffness he received while getting out of his car to pick up sandwiches from a local shop. Thursday, Peralta brought sandwiches from the shop, but brought along pitcher Alex Colome to carry them.
Peralta did not practice Thursday, but is only expected to miss a couple of days with his injury.
FOR FRIDAY: The picthers and catchers will once again practice fielding, with half of the staff throwing their second bullpen session, including David Price and Jeff Niemann, on Fields 1-4. Position players will take batting practice and field ground balls, weather permitting, on Field 5.