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Archer focused on maintaining durability

Refsnyder to be integrated on fly; Duffy looking forward to return
MLB.com @wwchastain

ST. PETERSBURG -- Chris Archer addressed the media during Wednesday morning's Rays workout prior to Thursday afternoon's opener. During that session, a collected Archer took exception to an out-of-town reporter's question.

The reporter asked Tampa Bay's Opening Day starter about his numbers not being where he wanted them to be. The right-hander remained respectful when he answered, but clearly it wasn't his favorite question.

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ST. PETERSBURG -- Chris Archer addressed the media during Wednesday morning's Rays workout prior to Thursday afternoon's opener. During that session, a collected Archer took exception to an out-of-town reporter's question.

The reporter asked Tampa Bay's Opening Day starter about his numbers not being where he wanted them to be. The right-hander remained respectful when he answered, but clearly it wasn't his favorite question.

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"You're kind of putting words in my mouth," Archer said. "You are saying that they're not where I want them to be. But I think you're saying they're not where you want them to be. You know, I judge myself on other factors besides win-loss.

"Like I said, making every start is the most important thing for me. Pitching deep into the ballgame is the most important thing for me. And I think over the course of 33-34 starts, regardless of what my numbers are at the end of the season, there's going to be stretches of consistency there that are going to help my team win more times than not."

Archer is known for having elite stuff and for giving the Rays 200-plus innings a season. But he's also experienced three consecutive losing seasons.

Rays manager Kevin Cash was asked by the same reporter about Archer's numbers not being representative of a pitcher with elite stuff.

"There's probably been some inconsistency on his part," Cash said. "But like I said earlier, it's a team game. We probably haven't given him the run support or made some plays behind him. But that's the way it goes sometimes. Chris is a very good pitcher. I think he's up in that standard of an [elite] guy. A workhorse who gives you a chance to win every night. And that's really what you ask."

Video: SD@CLE: Refsnyder's unique double goes through wall

Expectations for Refsnyder

The Rays acquired Rob Refsnyder on Tuesday from the Indians in exchange for cash considerations.

Refsnyder, 27, split the 2017 season between the Yankees and Blue Jays organizations, appearing in 20 games at second base, 10 games in left field, six games at first base and four games in right field.

Cash told reporters he knew "very little" about Refsnyder, who will be a right-handed-hitting option in the outfield, as well as at second and third. Cash allowed that he talked to some people with the Indians to get the scouting report.

"They all raved about the kid as a person," Cash said. "I talked to him on the phone. He seems pumped for the opportunity. He's going to play against a lot of left-handed pitching. Hits the ball hard. Not a big power guy. Contact approach. But really hits a lot of line drives. And he's versatile.

"I think we like his bat. We like some of the underlying stuff in his performance and being in somewhat of that role in the big league clubs he's been on. But overall, we thought that his bat could really help us against left-handed pitching."

Refsnyder was claimed off waivers by the Indians in November. He appeared in 26 games for the Indians this spring, batting .191/.298/.362 with two doubles, two home runs and seven RBIs.

Over parts of three Major League seasons with the Yankees and Blue Jays, Refsnyder has hit .233/.306/.311 (66-for-283) with 14 doubles, two home runs and 17 RBIs. He was selected by the Yankees in the fifth round of the 2012 Draft out of the University of Arizona.

Refsnyder is expected to arrive to the Tampa Bay area Wednesday night. Cash said he did not know if Refsnyder would start in Thursday's opener against Boston lefty Chris Sale.

Video: NYY@TB: Duffy drives in Lowe with an RBI single

Duffy back

Matt Duffy is looking forward to being back on the field as the Rays' third baseman after missing all of the 2017 season with a heel issue.

"I just feel like a child," Duffy said. "Like the kid in me is you know, 'It's Opening Day.' Most of the guys that play the game are still fans of the game. And the kid in you comes out no matter how much experience you have. The kid in you will come out and there's always going to be that excitement on Opening Day.

"You try to suppress it a little bit, just to be in control of it. That's more difficult for some guys than others. You try to just make it to where it's just another game when the game starts. I can say [that] I'm going to try and take it all in tomorrow."

When asked if baseball means more to him now after missing all of last season, Duffy said he's trying not to get too keyed up.

"I'm still trying to take everything keeping it as simple as possible," Duffy said. "Just worrying about today. So I think tomorrow will probably hit me when it's tomorrow."

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2004.

Tampa Bay Rays