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Pirates pitcher Chris Archer starting slow but plans to be ready for season

Kevin Gorman

BRADENTON, Fla. – Don’t call it a rehab. Chris Archer has been here for weeks.

That was the message from the Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander Monday, when pitchers and catchers reported to Pirate City. Archer had surgery in late November to repair a bilateral hernia, and is long past his expected recovery time of six weeks.

“At this point, it’s not rehab,” Archer said. “I would say I’ve been cleared from rehab for probably three or four weeks now. I feel great. I’m coming in and warming, stretching like normal. There’s nothing abnormal about what I’m out here doing.”

Archer said he has thrown four bullpen sessions, with a fifth scheduled for Wednesday. He tossed with reliever Keone Kela in the outfield Monday morning, then threw some pitches with Kela acting as a batter.

Archer had missed more than a month with the Tampa Rays with a left abdominal strain last season before the Pirates acquired him at the trade deadline. The Pirates said he dealt with recurring symptoms, but Archer wasn’t interested in discuss the injury or his 3-3 record with a 4.30 ERA in 10 starts for the Pirates last season.

“We’re going to start slow,” Archer said. “We’re not going to rush anything but by the first week of the season I’ll be ready to throw over 100 pitches. That’s the goal. We’ve got six weeks.”

“That’s behind me. It doesn’t matter when it started. The fact of the matter is it doesn’t bother me anymore. That’s all I’m focused on.”

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Kevin Gorman is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Kevin at [email protected] or via Twitter @KGorman_Trib.