PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. (AP) Tampa Bay Rays ace Chris Archer threw six pitches in the top of the first inning before the game against the Baltimore Orioles was rained out Saturday.
Archer retired two batters before heavy rain caused the game to be stopped, forcing him to finish in a batting cage.
''The circumstances weren't ideal, but we made the most of it,'' said Archer, who has two spring starts remaining before his opening day assignment against the Toronto Blue Jays on April 3. ''I pretty much carried what I did in the game right into the cage with the coaches and a couple hitters.''
With a two-day trip to Cuba coming up and spring training about to wind down, it was a bad time for the Rays to lose a game to rain. Manager Kevin Cash said before the game that it was time for ''all of our guys to dial it up.''
After getting in his 90 pitches with the normal breaks mixed in, Archer was satisfied that he had progressed the same as if the game had been played.
''Any time you can have a little adversity and do well, it's a positive sign,'' he said. ''Honestly, when it started to rain, something inside me started to click and it felt like more than a spring training game. It felt like I had some adversity that I had to pitch through.''
The Rays are scheduled to play the Orioles again on Sunday in Sarasota before departing for Havana, where they'll play a nationally televised game against the Cuban National Team on Tuesday.
Orioles: RHP Yovani Gallardo had been scheduled to start.
Rays: The plan for Archer is to pitch seven innings or 105 pitches Thursday, then wind down in his final spring start on March 29.
WIETERS HITTING AGAIN
Orioles: Manager Buck Showalter said C Matt Wieters, who has been out for the last week with a sore right elbow, was scheduled for live batting practice on Saturday. Showalter didn't want to put a timetable on Wieters' possible return. ''I hope he's moving toward the field in a week,'' Showalter said. ''Who knows? It could be eight days.''
FRANKLIN AMONG SEVEN RAYS CUTS
The Rays cut their roster to 43 players by optioning IF Nick Franklin and C Luke Maile, and reassigning RHPs Ryan Garton, Parker Markel and Neil Wagner, LHP Jonny Venters and IF Kyle Roller. Franklin, who played in 44 games with the Rays last season, hit .375 in 24 spring at bats. ''I think consistent at-bats will help him a lot,'' Cash said.
Orioles: OF Xavier Avery could miss at least several days with a strained right hip flexor.
Rays: OF Corey Dickerson was in the lineup after missing four games with a blister on his right ring finger. ... 3B Evan Longoria was in the lineup for the first time after leaving Thursday's game when a foul tip struck his left chin.
Orioles: RHP Chris Tillman is scheduled for his second start of the spring against Tampa Bay on Sunday in Sarasota. RHP Tyler Wilson is also scheduled to pitch.
Rays: RHP Jhan Marinez will start the regular game against the Orioles on Sunday while LHP Drew Smyly pitches an intrasquad game in Port Charlotte. ''We just want to make sure we load up everybody with ABs and innings because for three days now, we're not going to be able to control that as well,'' Cash said.