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Archer nears rehab assignment after sim game

Rays right-hander could rejoin rotation before All-Star break
Special to MLB.com

ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays starter Chris Archer threw a three-inning simulated game at the team's Minor League complex in Port Charlotte, Fla., on Thursday morning. Manager Kevin Cash said Archer threw 47 pitches without issue, a day after throwing long toss on the team's off-day. Archer has been on the 10-day disabled list since June 5 (retroactive to June 3) with a left abdominal strain.

"He had a good day," Cash said. "We'll see him either this afternoon or at some point tomorrow and check on him again, but we are getting about that time to send him out on a rehab assignment."

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ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays starter Chris Archer threw a three-inning simulated game at the team's Minor League complex in Port Charlotte, Fla., on Thursday morning. Manager Kevin Cash said Archer threw 47 pitches without issue, a day after throwing long toss on the team's off-day. Archer has been on the 10-day disabled list since June 5 (retroactive to June 3) with a left abdominal strain.

"He had a good day," Cash said. "We'll see him either this afternoon or at some point tomorrow and check on him again, but we are getting about that time to send him out on a rehab assignment."

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Cash did not give an exact timetable for Archer's return, but said that he would likely start a Minor League game on Tuesday or Wednesday and possibly rejoin the rotation before the All-Star break.

Archer is 3-4 with a 4.24 ERA in 13 starts this season.

Alvarado reflects on debut at first base
Jose Alvarado is a Gold Glove Award-caliber first baseman. At least according to the little plastic trophy with the handwritten label that was left in his locker by an unidentified prankster before he arrived at the clubhouse on Thursday.

"I'm going to take some ground balls at third base," Alvarado joked. "I'm ready."

The Rays reliever made his debut at first base during a chaotic ninth inning in a 1-0 win over the Nationals on Tuesday.

"It was like growing up," Alvarado said. "You play left [field], right, center, short, you play all those positions as a kid. So when they put me [at first base], I just had the mentality to play like I was a kid and see what happens."

Video: WSH@TB: Alvarado plays first after double switch

Leading off the bottom of the ninth inning, Alvarado walked Bryce Harper. With no left-handers remaining in the bullpen and the Rays clinging to a one-run lead, Cash got a little creative. Chaz Roe was brought on to face Anthony Rendon, while Alvarado stayed in the game at first.

"It was definitely something you don't see every day," Alvarado said. "One of the first times I've seen it or experienced it in my playing career. It was a little bit crazy, but like they say, Cash took that out of the book of Joe Maddon."

Video: WSH@TB: Cash moves Alvarado to 1st in eventful 9th

After Roe got Rendon to strike out swinging. Alvarado returned to the mound to face Juan Soto, who picked up the Nats' second hit of the game with a single to center. Daniel Murphy loaded the bases with a bloop single, but Sergio Romo came on to retire the final two batters.

"It was a good thing nothing came his way," Cash said of Alvarado.

J. Scott Butherus is a contributor to MLB.com.

Tampa Bay Rays, Chris Archer