Pirates’ Archer, back from hernia surgery, feeling great
By MARK DIDTLER
TAMPA, Fla. — Chris Archer had success against the high-powered New York Yankees and more importantly felt great afterwards.
Archer allowed two hits and struck out four over three scoreless innings in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 6-5 loss on Sunday.
The right-hander, who underwent surgery to repair a hernia in November, faced a lineup that included Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Troy Tulowitzki, Gleyber Torres, Brett Gardner and Greg Bird.
“The biggest thing for me is health,” Archer said. “Whenever I don’t have to be tentative, I don’t have to be passive because there’s an ailment, I’m happy.”
Gardner and Stanton had first-inning singles before Archer retired his final seven batters.
“Facing those guys, you get really good feedback,” Archer said. “But the process of executing the pitches, that’s all I was focused on.”
Archer had four strikeouts over two hitless innings in his first spring training start in Tuesday’s 10-4 win over the Baltimore Orioles.
The 30-year-old will start the Pirates’ home opener April 1 against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Pittsburgh acquired Archer from Tampa Bay in a July trade that sent outfielder Austin Meadows and pitcher Tyler Glasnow to the Rays.
Archer went 3-3 with a 4.30 ERA in 10 starts for the Pirates, including a 2-1 mark with a 2.70 ERA in September.
Jameson Taillon, the Pirates’ opening-day starter March 28 at Cincinnati, is scheduled to make his first spring training start Tuesday against Minnesota. Pittsburgh has extensively used simulated games as part of the preparation process for pitchers. Taillon went 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA in 32 starts last season.
C Elias Diaz, who had been away from the team for 2 1/2 weeks because of an undisclosed virus, is back at camp. He will not be ready for opening day. “We’re happy to have him back,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “It was a perfect time for him to come back and start his road to play. We’ve set up a plan, we’ll follow the plan. We don’t have a timetable right now.”
Jung Ho Kang and former Yankees’ catcher Francisco Cervelli homered on consecutive pitches from J.A. Happ in the third inning. All four of Kang’s hits in 20 at-bats have been homers. … LHP Francisco Liriano walked all four batters he faced during the fourth.