Chris Archer has been announced as the Rays' Opening Day starter.
He'll get the nod at home April 2 against the Yankees. This will be Archer's third straight Opening Day start. The rest of Tampa Bay's rotation will follow in this order: Jake Odorizzi, Alex Cobb, Blake Snell and Matt Andriese. Even in a down year, Archer still finished second in the AL with 233 strikeouts last season. Look for him to bounce back in 2017.
Junior Guerra was plastered for 12 runs -- seven earned -- in 3 2/3 innings against the Athletics on Thursday.
He gave up 10 hits and watched in shock as four of them flew over the outfield wall. It was just one of those days where nothing worked. Prior to today Guerra had allowed just two runs in 10 innings. He was the biggest surprise breakout of the 2016 season, turning in a 2.81 ERA in 20 starts as a 31-year-old rookie. Despite today's beatdown he will likely take the hill on Opening Day for the Brewers.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports the Rays remain interested in free agent Derek Norris but are likely "on the outside looking in."
Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports reported last week that as many as six teams were in on Norris with Tampa Bay being one of them. The Rays will be without Wilson Ramos for at least the first month and a half, which gives them some incentive to add a catcher. Norris matched a career-high with 14 homers last year but did it while hitting just .186 with 139 strikeouts in 415 at-bats.
Willson Contreras went 3-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored in Thursday's tie with the Diamondbacks.
The sophomore catcher is now batting .333 with three home runs through 39 at-bats. He turned in a very promising rookie season in 2016, notching a .282 batting average with 12 home runs and 35 RBI in 76 games. He figures to benefit from a much larger share of the playing time behind the plate in Chicago this season. He is going as one of the top five catchers in fantasy drafts this month.
Jake Arrieta allowed three runs on eight hits in five innings of work as the Cubs and Diamondbacks dueled to a 5-5 tie on Thursday.
He struck out four and issued one free pass. He also helped himself at the plate by launching a solo home run off Zack Greinke in the third inning. Last year Arrieta wasn't quite as dominant as he was the previous two years, but he still managed a near-elite season with an 18-8 record and 3.10 ERA in 31 starts. He finished with 190 strikeouts and 76 walks in 197 1/3 innings.
Jake Lamb went 1-for-3 with a two-run homer against the Cubs on Thursday.
He took Cubs ace Jake Arrieta deep in the first inning for his third longball of the spring. He carries a .378 batting average after 37 at-bats. He batted .249/.332/.509 with 29 home runs, 81 runs scored and 91 RBI in his breakout 2016 campaign. The 26-year-old will look to build on those stats as he enters the new year with an unchallenged grip on the third base job.
Zack Greinke gave up three runs over five innings as the Diamondbacks and Cubs played to a 5-5 tie on Thursday.
He surrendered six hits and two walks while striking out four. He suffered the indignity of allowing a home run to the opposing pitcher, Jake Arrieta. This was just his second official start in Cactus League action. He has also pitched in intra-squad games and in exhibition games against Team Netherlands and Team Mexico. He raised some eyebrows early in camp by showing reduced velocity, but that has since improved enough to alleviate any worries. Greinke's first campaign after signing a $206.5 million contract with the Diamondbacks was a big disappointment. He finished the season with a 4.37 ERA in 26 starts after turning in a 1.66 ERA in 32 starts with the Dodgers the year prior.
Gregor Blanco was scratched from Thursday's Cactus League game against the Cubs after experiencing tightness in his right side.
He'll be reevaluated on Friday. Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo is calling him day-to-day. The 33-year-old has had a quiet spring, hitting just .225 with two RBI and one steal over 40 Cactus League at-bats. This injury obviously won't help Blanco's chances of making the Opening Day roster.