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Archer on track to start rehab on Tuesday

Righty threw three-inning sim game Thursday; Kiermaier looking to get going at dish; Cash impressed by Rays' rookies
MLB.com @wwchastain

ST. PETERSBURG -- Chris Archer (left abdominal strain) felt good on Friday following his three-inning, 46-pitch sim game on Thursday.

"He'll throw a bullpen [Saturday]," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "Then he'll throw in Port Charlotte, four [innings] and [or] 65 [pitches], something like that."

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ST. PETERSBURG -- Chris Archer (left abdominal strain) felt good on Friday following his three-inning, 46-pitch sim game on Thursday.

"He'll throw a bullpen [Saturday]," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "Then he'll throw in Port Charlotte, four [innings] and [or] 65 [pitches], something like that."

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That translates to Archer throwing for Class A Advanced Charlotte on Tuesday.

"It's good," Cash said. "He's on his way back now. Hopefully no setbacks. He felt really, really good. Probably the most encouraged I've heard him talk in a couple of weeks about how his body felt. And obviously, the arm feels pretty fresh right now."

Should Kiermaier bunt more?
Kevin Kiermaier has struggled offensively since returning from the disabled list on June 19. That fact, plus the fact Kiermaier executed a perfect bunt single Thursday night, prompted reporters to ask Cash whether the Rays wanted Kiermaier to bunt more.

"He's very capable of bunting, and we've seen him [do that]," Cash said. "But I think K.K., at this point right now, he wants to get his timing at the plate with his swing. I would never ask a guy to sit there and bunt, because K.K. can do so many things powerful with the bat. He can hit the ball in the gap. He can hit the ball out of the ballpark.

"There are times throughout a game or during a stretch where it would be nice to drop it down, but K.K. has to be comfortable doing that. I don't think it's our position to look at him and tell him to bunt."

Handling the Major Leagues
The Rays have a number of rookies excelling at the Major League level, highlighted by Jake Bauers, Willy Adames, and Diego Castillo. Cash allowed that he has been impressed with the overall poise shown by the group while adjusting to the Major Leagues.

"We brought them up, and you can debate this wasn't the best, ideal time, given who we're playing on our schedule," Cash said. "But they've handled things really, really well. They've helped us win these games, stay in these games. They've had some competitive at-bats. They have done some really good things on defense.

"As far as Diego, he got here a little earlier [than Bauers and Adames], the way his mound presence is, he comes off the mound after a six-pitch outing or a 22-pitch outing and nothing seems to faze him. You want to see that from young players, they don't get over-hyped, or over-anxiety when they're performing. And I don't think any of them have."

Video: TB@HOU: Castillo reties Gattis to end the threat

Cash said he has not been surprised by how loose the group has played.

"I hear what our staff, and player development, and managers that have had them, they've all raved about them as teammates, as people, and how they've handled the pressure," Cash said. "We talked about it in Spring Training. There's something to be said for winning at any level. Those guys have all experienced winning. And they did some special things last year at [Triple-A] Durham, and I think that's helped them take this next step and handle some of the adversities that you're going to deal with at the big leagues.

"You have to like what you've seen so far. Not just myself, but the staff and their teammates, our fans have recognized the positive energy they've brought and it helps that they're playing well."

Video: WSH@TB: Bauers tallies 4 hits against the Nationals

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

Tampa Bay Rays, Willy Adames, Chris Archer, Jake Bauers, Diego Castillo, Kevin Kiermaier