Archer set for debut as he preps for season, Classic

Archer set for debut as he preps for season, Classic

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Chris Archer will make his spring debut Sunday afternoon when the Red Sox visit Port Charlotte.

"I love baseball, so I'm excited to go out there and throw some baseballs again," Archer said.

Opportunities to see Archer will be scarce this spring since the right-hander will be leaving camp the first week of March to pitch for the United States team in the World Baseball Classic.

Depending on how far the team advances, Archer could be gone from the Rays anywhere from a week to two weeks.

The 28-year-old right-hander is hoping to start the season in a better groove than where he found himself in 2016, when he suffered through a less-than-stellar first half en route to a 19-loss season.

In the first half of 2016, Archer went 4-12 with a 4.66 ERA. After the All-Star break, he went 5-7 with a 3.25 ERA.

When asked about last season, Archer managed a smile.

"You either win or you learn," the pitcher said. "And I learned 19 times last year."

Like others on the team, Archer is looking for the Rays to turn around their fortunes this season after winning just 68 games in 2016.

"I think just being healthy is going to be our key," Archer said. "Being healthy and our starting pitching doing its normal thing. Nothing more, nothing less."

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.