Tampa Bay Rays RHP Chris Archer was a little surprised to be called into manager Joe Maddon's office Tuesday and told he was being optioned to Triple-A Durham.

But after what he called a "great" conversation with Maddon, pitching coach Jim Hickey and executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, Archer said he understood why he was sent down.

"They just kind of laid it out for me, told me I need to go down and work on some things, continue to get better, continue to build off the second half of my minor-league season last year," Archer said. "After the conversation, I was at ease. There's no more surprise. I was pretty happy with how the conversation went."

Archer allowed one hit and three walks in seven scoreless innings this spring. He hoped to have a few more outings to show the team that he is deserving of a spot in the rotation.

"But after that conversation it was, 'Archer, you're going to be here. You're going to help us for a long time. Right now just isn't the best time for us or for you,' " he said.

With all the starting pitchers in camp, Maddon said it was time to send Archer to Durham so he could build his arm strength for the regular season.

"For sure, we believe Archer can be here right now, but I can't have everybody, and so we want to keep him ready in the event something can happen, he'd be stretched out properly and be able to jump right into it, so it's kind of a nice problem to have," Maddon said. "When you're that thick that you're sending back guys, that's good."