Sunday, April 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays' Matt Moore convinced surgery is the best option

BALTIMORE — LHP Matt Moore is confident the Tommy John surgery he is having next week eventually will make his left elbow feel better. He just had to be sure he felt it was the right thing to do before deciding Monday to proceed.

And he said that when he opened his eyes Tuesday, he knew it was.

"I don't think that there was a whole lot of hesitation when I woke up (Tuesday) morning," he said. "I knew I wasn't dreaming. It wasn't like, 'Do I really want to do this?' "

The surgery, to be performed Tuesday by noted specialist Dr. James Andrews and considered highly successful, will sideline Moore 12-15 months.

After leaving the April 7 game, Moore wanted to get several opinions and try throwing one more time Monday afternoon — though admitting it was probably at best a 10 percent chance he'd be better — before agreeing that the discomfort he felt on his fastball and curve, in addition to the previously troublesome changeup, was evidence enough that surgery was inevitable to repair a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament.

"I think it was probably a little bit for me mentally as far as heading into a surgery to know that it was on every single pitch," he said.

Moore, who missed a month last season with elbow issues, said he felt the most severe discomfort during the April 7 game, but executive vice president Andrew Friedman said it's unclear how progressive the situation was. "It's safe to assume it didn't just all happen in Kansas City that night, but it's really hard to kind of put all the pieces of the puzzle together," he said.

Moore said he is "in a transition phase" as far as accepting that he won't be able to help on the field and has to channel his competitiveness into rehab.

RAINED OUT: The decision to postpone Tuesday's game seemed obvious all day given the bad weather, though the Orioles waited until around 5:20. They also floated the idea of playing a doubleheader today — when temps are forecast to top out at 51 — but cooler, or actually warmer, heads prevailed, and the makeup date will be set most likely during the Rays' June or August visits.

Given the cold, rainy conditions, the Rays decided mid afternoon (much to the surprise of O's manager Buck Showalter, apparently) to switch starters from RHP Jake Odorizzi — who was feeling better after being sick Monday — to RH reliever Brandon Gomes. Manager Joe Maddon said that a crew of relievers was better equipped to handle a game that may be delayed, and stopped and started, and that given their rotation issues they didn't want to risk burning a starter for a short outing. He cited the problems they had after a similar situation in Cleveland last year.

They moved Odorizzi back to today's matinee and LHP David Price to Thursday's opener of a four-game series at the Trop against the Yankees. Maddon said they will decide the rest from there, with LHP Erik Bedard or LHP Cesar Ramos starting Friday, the other probably Sunday and RHP Chris Archer breaking up the lefties Saturday.

PRAYERS FOR ZIM: Senior adviser Don Zimmer, 83, is set to have heart surgery today to repair a leaky valve. Zimmer has been dealing with a number of health issues, including shortness of breath and fatigue. He was wearing oxygen tubes during his appearance at the March 31 opener.

MISCELLANY: RHP Jeremy Hellickson's first mound session post-elbow surgery has been pushed back a few days. … RHP Juan Carlos Oviedo (on the DL after reporting late to camp) will be reevaluated after one more Triple-A rehab appearance Thursday. …Durham OF Mikie Mahtook, a 2011 first-round pick, reached based in 12 straight plate appearances (11 hits and a walk) over three games. … The Rays have lost back-to-back games by six or more for the first time since June 2012.



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