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'Priming' Archer to pitch first of two today

Righty's pregame routine more suitable prior to Game 1
MLB.com @wwchastain

BALTIMORE -- What's known going into Saturday's doubleheader against the Orioles is that Chris Archer has been tabbed to start the first game. The plan is for left-hander Anthony Banda to pitch at some point on Saturday as well.

Archer is starting the first game primarily because of his extended pregame warmup prior to each start. There will only be 40 minutes between the first and second games on Saturday.

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BALTIMORE -- What's known going into Saturday's doubleheader against the Orioles is that Chris Archer has been tabbed to start the first game. The plan is for left-hander Anthony Banda to pitch at some point on Saturday as well.

Archer is starting the first game primarily because of his extended pregame warmup prior to each start. There will only be 40 minutes between the first and second games on Saturday.

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"The younger guy coming up, it won't take him quite as long to warm up," Archer said. "I have a nice long routine I've been doing for a few years. We agreed that it would be best if I started the first game."

If Archer is no longer a "younger guy," what classification is he? The right-hander smiled at the question: "I'm priming."

Banda was with the team Friday night, but was on the taxi squad in advance of being activated Saturday. Rays manager Kevin Cash announced that Matt Andriese will start Game 2 for the Rays, but he did not commit to Banda being the 26th man for the doubleheader, meaning he could be a regular roster move and another player could join the team as the 26th man for Saturday.

If Banda pitches Saturday, he will become the first of the four prospects the Rays acquired for outfielder Steven Souza Jr. to play this season. Banda is ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Rays' No. 16 prospect.

Archer had this assessment of Banda: "Smooth, fluid -- his stuff works really well. Good fastball, good changeup. And apparently his breaking ball has come a long way the last few weeks as well."

Banda comes from a talented Triple-A Durham team that has a roster full of prospects, who will likely make their mark on future Rays rosters. When asked about the group, Banda had glowing things to say.

"Good group of guys down there," Banda said. "And they're really, really talented. And now it's just about putting it together and staying consistent. ... The sky's the limit for those guys. And when you get up here, just keep doing your thing. ... It's a very special group of guys down there."

Archer said the Rays have "some veteran guys on this team who are crucial to the team's success" before adding: "But there's a group of young guys at Durham, and here. If the Rays are going to be good long term, those guys are going to have to come up and prove that they can succeed at this level, and so far it's been promising."

K.K. on the road
Kevin Kiermaier is with the team on the road trip even though he is on the disabled list and has a cast on his right hand following thumb surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb.

"Shagging is my game right now, and it's my sanity," Kiermaier said. "I can do everything but throw and hit."

Kiermaier is cautiously optimistic he can return to the team within the prescribed 10-week prognosis, which would fall on July 13. The Rays' center fielder is scheduled to have his cast removed next Friday. After that, Kiermaier said he should know more about his schedule.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.

Tampa Bay Rays, Chris Archer