PORT CHARLOTTE — For the better part of 49 pitches Saturday, a Charlotte Sports Park crowd of 6,872 saw vintage Matt Moore.
Or at the very least, Matt Moore circa September.
The feel-good story of the 2015 season's final month (2-1, 2.97 ERA), Moore worked 32/3 scoreless innings against a Yankees split squad lineup bereft of regulars except RF Carlos Beltran. After issuing two first-inning singles, Moore retired the final nine batters he faced, striking out three and walking none.
"We've talked about all spring how he's been really a bright spot for us coming into camp, and he just continues to do that," said manager Kevin Cash, who watched seven pitchers team for a four-hitter in the Rays' 2-1 victory.
"He's really efficient. I mean his stuff looks powerful, kind of effortlessly, but very powerful."
Moore's only hint of a jam occurred when he issued a leadoff single to Aaron Hicks, but his defense responded with a 6-4-3 double play started by SS Tim Beckham. Working with C Curt Casali, Moore threw 32 of his 49 pitches for strikes.
His objective Saturday: "Compete," said Moore, who has allowed a run and three hits in 52/3 spring innings.
"I think that was what Curt and I talked about. We talk about what we want to do to certain hitters. I just said, 'Look, let's go out there and compete, see what I got and we'll go from there.' "
A FEW CLOSE SHAVES: Cash, principal owner Stuart Sternberg, INF Richie Shaffer and president of baseball operations Matt Silverman were among those partaking in the club's annual head-shaving ritual as part of the Pediatric Cancer Foundation's "Cut for a Cure."
RHP Chris Archer and INF/OF Taylor Motter, possessors of two of the club's most prominent coiffures, opted for a cash donation instead.
"There's a point of no return over there," Motter said, pointing at the row of seated Rays getting shaved on a terrace behind the Charlotte Sports Park rightfield wall.
"My hair is my thing."
MEDICAL MATTERS: RHP Matt Andriese (left abdominal tightness) has been bumped from his scheduled start today at Dunedin. RHP Taylor Guerrieri makes his first start of the spring in his place. … RF Corey Dickerson suffered an apparent left forearm bruise after being struck by a James Pazos pitch in the fifth inning but required no X-ray and is slated to DH today, Cash said.
CUBA CONTINGENT: Cash suggested the club's final travel roster for the March 22 game in Cuba could be determined Monday. "Probably in the next two days we'll have some stuff close to finalizing," he said.
GAME DETAILS: Backup CF Johnny Field's bases-loaded, two-out double to left-center in the fifth was the decisive blow for the Rays, who collected four hits in 32/3 innings against Yankees RHP Luis Severino. … DH Rene Rivera went 2-for-4 for his first multihit game of the spring. … Projected closer Brad Boxberger worked the seventh, allowing the Yankees' lone run when he hit leadoff batter Cesar Puello, who stole second and scored on a pair of grounders. … Alex Colome worked a perfect ninth for the save, but Cash said nothing should be read into Colome closing the game out. "Just how it fell," he said.
ODDS AND ENDS: Cash indicated some roster moves could be forthcoming after today's split-squad games in Port Charlotte (vs. Red Sox) and Dunedin (vs. Blue Jays). … Ava Raab, a 7-year-old cancer survivor from Seffner, tossed out Saturday's ceremonial first pitch. … Clearwater Central Catholic alumnus Ryan Webb made his fourth spring appearance, notching a strikeout in a scoreless fifth inning.