ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays pitcher Juan Carlos Oviedo started the season on the 15-day disabled list as he has not pitched in a Major League game since September 2011.
The right-hander missed all of 2012 due to Tommy John surgery to his right elbow, then all of 2013 while rehabbing with the Rays. Adding to his journey, Oviedo sat out the bulk of Spring Training due to a visa problem.
Manager Joe Maddon stressed that the Rays' primary concern was that Oviedo did not hurt himself again. Maddon also noted that missing two seasons left some room for regaining his edge when facing hitters.
Speaking through interpreter George Pappas, Oviedo said he felt as though he was getting sharper every time out and that he was ready to head to Triple-A Durham on Thursday.
"I feel pretty good," Oviedo said. "I definitely feel a lot better. I'm finding the zone. I'm finding my changeup. And having the chance to do that, I feel much better."
Oviedo noted that his mind is getting back into his pitching as well.
"Obviously I'm thinking a lot more," he said. "I certainly feel a lot better. I'm getting my confidence back with it. And that's going to come with throwing in more games. I feel super good."
Oviedo said he will pitch for the Bulls on Friday. As for when he might join the Rays?
"Not sure yet, just whenever I feel ready," he said.
Archer's teammates happy about his extension
ST. PETERSBURG -- At a news conference Wednesday afternoon, the Rays announced the signing of right-hander Chris Archer to an eight-year contract extension -- the first six years are guaranteed (2014-'19) plus the deal includes club options for 2020 and '21.
Archer is guaranteed a total of $25.5 million in the deal, which has a maximum value of $43.75 million.
The news of Archer's deal went over well inside the Rays' clubhouse.
"I'm excited for him," Wil Myers said. "I think that's awesome for him to be able to do that. It sets him up for life. He's a great pitcher. I know he's excited about it, so I'm happy for him."
Myers believes Archer's attitude and mindset will help him avoid the adverse effects from the pressure and expectations that come with a deal.
"I think he has a good mindset about him," Myers said. "I think he's going to really exceed it. Any player's going to want to exceed the amount of money he makes. I think he's a guy that can do that."
Alex Cobb said that he was happy that Archer "could be set up for the rest of his life."
"If anything was to happen, he would be OK. He doesn't ever have to work again," Cobb said. "Anytime you can do that and kind of take the business side out of baseball, and now he can just go out there and pitch and not worry about anything. I think it's going to do wonders for him and his career."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.