Chris Archer tosses two-hit shutout against Yankees

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Chris Archer’s recent stretch of dominance continued this afternoon, as he tossed a two-hit shutout in a 1-0 victory over the Yankees at Yankee Stadium. It was his second shutout in his past three starts.

This qualified as a “Maddux” for Archer, as he needed just 97 pitches to finish it off. Outdueling Ivan Nova, the 24-year-old right-hander struck out six and didn’t walk a batter. Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune notes that Archer is the first rookie pitcher to throw a shutout against the Yankees in New York since the Orioles’ Arthur Rhodes did it on July 29, 1992.

Archer will finish July at 4-0 with a 0.73 ERA and 22/7 K/BB ratio in 38 innings over five starts. Meanwhile, the first-place Rays have a 2.27 ERA this month. It’s no wonder why they are the hottest team in baseball.

J.D. Martinez tells teams he prefers an outfield role

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Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.

That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.

Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.