Archer throws in bullpen after Rays-O's rainout

Varona cleared to travel to Cuba; Smyly to pitch intrasquad game

Archer throws in bullpen after Rays-O's rainout

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Chris Archer made his start Saturday, but after throwing six pitches to Orioles hitters, the weather dictated that his next 90-plus be thrown in the bullpen.

That's because Saturday's Orioles-Rays game at Charlotte Sports Park had to be cancelled due to rain.

The Rays' Opening Day starter simulated the rest of his start under cover. Archer threw to catcher Curt Casali with outfielder Steven Souza Jr. standing in the batter's box inside the batting cages.

"He threw the ball really well," Rays manager Kevin Cash said.

Archer felt good about Saturday's results.

"The effort and the intensity was the exact same," Archer said. "And I made sure that I stepped on it a little bit, and mentally put myself in certain situations that I'm going to have during the regular season."

Archer will throw seven innings and 105 pitches his next outing before backing off with a shortened start prior to Opening Day.

Archer to start Opening Day

For fans that had tickets to Saturday's game, the Rays' policy for Spring Training games allows for Saturday's ticket to be exchanged for any of the remaining home spring games. For more information, contact

Around the horn
• Cuban-born outfielder Dayron Varona's status for the trip to his homeland has apparently been settled after some questions prevailed as late as Friday afternoon.

Varona defected from Cuba in 2013, so questions about him being able to enter and depart Cuba had been in play.

"I just loved seeing the expression on his face when we told him he was able to go," Rays traveling secretary Chris Westmoreland said. "Because there is a lot of paperwork involved. And to see his face when we told him he was able to go, it meant a lot to me personally. It hit me personally. He's going to be able to see some family and go back to Cuba."

Westmoreland called Varona's situation "very unique."

"Through the process [of getting Varona cleared] I learned a lot about ... the Cuban government and how the process works," Westmoreland said. "And it was interesting to me."

Drew Smyly will pitch in an intrasquad game Sunday at the Charlotte Sports Complex.

"We just want to make sure we load up everybody with ABs and innings on the field because we're going to have basically three days now where we're not going to be able to control that as well," Cash said.

Alex Colome threw during a "camp day" game at a Port Charlotte back field on Saturday. The right-hander became the first reliever to throw back-to-back outings this spring.

Up next for the Orioles: Following the rainout, the Orioles and Rays will hope Mother Nature cooperates on Sunday, when they again are scheduled to face off, this time at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Fla. The 1:05 p.m. ET game will be broadcast live on MLB.TV. Right-hander Chris Tillman makes his second Grapefruit League start for the O's after dealing with a minor hip flexor injury early in camp. He allowed two runs over 1 2/3 innings against Toronto on Tuesday.

Up next for the Rays: Right-hander Jhan Marinez will start for the Rays on Sunday. Also expected to see action are right-handers Kyle McPherson, Tyler Sturdevant, Ryan Garton, Parker Markel, and Mark Sappington.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.