With David Price set to return from the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday, Chris Archer may be pitching for a spot in the Rays rotation when he faces the Tigers and Justin Verlander on Saturday night at Tropicana Field.
It's likely that either Archer or Alex Colome -- who pitched six innings in Friday's 6-3 loss to Detroit -- will be sent down to Triple-A Durham to make room for Price. Archer allowed one earned run in six innings against the Yankees last Sunday, but has struggled to go deep into games this season due to high pitch counts.
"Whatever we decide to do, it's going to be tough," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "I like what both of them have been doing. I honestly don't have a strong opinion right now. We just discussed that. I don't have a strong opinion one way or the other. I think both these young guys have represented themselves well."
Verlander hasn't been his usual dominant self, pitching only five innings in each of his last two starts. He's failed to pitch longer than five innings in five of his last nine starts. The Tigers need their starters to go deeper into games to help the relievers establish their roles and to keep them fresh.
"I've got to get it straightened out," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "I'll take full responsibility for that. We need some sense of order."
Verlander has struggled with his command lately, unable to get a strike on 20 of his 34 offspeed pitches in his last start, according to Brooks Baseball. He feels, however, that it can be fixed.
"The stuff is there, just a lot of location, really," Verlander said after his last start. "The offspeed stuff wasn't very good today, the changeup and curveball weren't very good. It's just leaving a lot of stuff over the middle of the plate, whether it being to put guys away or early in the count, or whatever it is."
Rays: Longoria knocked out of game due to foot
• Evan Longoria left Friday's game after the second inning after irritating the plantar fasciitis in his right foot.
Longoria hit a ground ball to second base in the second inning, and started limping while running down the line. Longoria has battled plantar fasciitis for about a month.
The Rays will re-evaluate Longoria on Saturday.
• Price will return to the mound on Tuesday to face the Astros.
Last year's American League Cy Young award winner has been on the disabled list since May 16 with a strained left triceps.
"He's ready to go. We felt that pretty strongly. He feels very good," Maddon said. "There was no reason to have him throw those 90 pitches in Port Charlotte, so we'll just have him do it for us. He was adamant that he felt great, the medical staff feels good about it, so let's do it with us."
The left-hander was 1-4 with a 5.24 ERA in nine games before his injury and has made two rehab starts for Class A Charlotte in the past week.
• Alex Cobb played catch for the first time since being struck on the right side of his head with a line drive on June 15.
"It's great," Maddon said. "Anytime I walk by him, he tells me he's having a good day and that's good to hear. We'll just take our time with him and follow his lead."
Tigers: Sanchez set for rehab start
• After throwing about 40 pitches in a simulated game Thursday, right-hander Anibal Sanchez is ready to pitch in a game. However, it will be a Minor League rehab game on Monday.
Sanchez will throw around 60 pitches at either Class A Lakeland, Gulf Coast League or Double-A Erie, depending on weather conditions. If his start goes as planned, he could return to the rotation on July 6 against the Indians.
• Although rookie reliever Bruce Rondon returned to the Tigers bullpen Friday, he won't be closing games just yet.
"He's not being brought back as the closer. Period. Which he is aware of," Leyland said.
The Tigers optioned right-hander Evan Reed to Triple-A Toledo prior to Friday's game to make room for Rondon on the 25-man roster. Rondon had a 1-1 record with 14 saves and a 1.52 ERA with 40 strikeouts in 29 2/3 innings at Toledo.
• Since Aug. 11, 2010, the Rays have lost 15 of their last 19 games to the Tigers, while Detroit pitchers have compiled a 2.36 ERA.
• It's either all or nothing for Matt Joyce against Justin Verlander. In 14 career at-bats, Joyce has six hits -- including two home runs -- and six strikeouts.