The Rays catcher battle may be wide open, but the road ahead is looking clearer for sweet Jesus Sucre, if you can read between the lines.
The 28-year old journeyman catcher, formerly fourth on the depth chart with the Mariners, has a huge fan in the Rays ace Chris Archer, who had been pouring sugar on the catcher before heading off to the World Baseball Classic:
"I like a lot of things Sucre can do," Archer said. "I like him a lot. … I've been telling everybody this, it's like throwing to a younger, slimmer Jose Molina with the actions of the hands. And his ability to throw, it's up there." [tampabay.com]
The two have been a match made in heaven.
And now that Archer’s returned to camp, Archer continued his high praise after pitching to Sucre on a back field:
"It was nice I was able to some different things I wouldn't have been able to do in the Classic,'' he said. "The Classic is basically do or die, so you want to stick with what feels good that day. Today, (C Jesus) Sucre did a good job of forcing me to do some different things and I found a new confidence in a couple areas that I didn't necessarily have in spring training yet.'' [tampabay.com]
You’d think that every time Chris Archer compliments Jesus Sucre, an angel gets its wings. And Archer’s not the only one impressed:
"He's done a good job," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "You hear the feedback from the pitchers. They enjoy throwing to him. The arm we've seen, that's nice to have, but working with them is more important. And he's done a really good job of getting to know them." [mlb.com]
To learn more about the new favorite backstop, there are several avenues:
- read at length about Sucre’s growing relationship with the pitching staff on the team site
- listen to Sucre tell his story about his trade to the Rays on Rays Radio
- read our season preview here.