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Rays' Matt Moore encouraged by mechanical tweak

ST. PETERSBURG — LHP Matt Moore makes his first start tonight hoping a little spring change in his mechanics makes a big difference during the season.

Moore cut down on how much he rotates his body away from home before delivery, allowing him to keep his head — and arm — more in line with the catcher.

"A little more of a simplistic approach will help me as far as what I do down the hill and (my) release point," Moore said.

Tonight's game comes after what Moore called an "eventful" spring in which he struggled at times with command — allowing 20 hits and 15 walks while striking out 18 and throwing six wild pitches in 171/3 innings — and was hit in the face by a line drive, though escaping with only a bruised and cut lip.

"Kind of a little bit of everything," Moore said. "Heading into the season I think we got what we needed to out of the spring, and I feel like I'm in a really good place."

Moore said he started making a bigger twist in his delivery in the middle of last season because it improved his changeup, but he didn't feel as comfortable this spring and went back to basics.

DEJESUS DOWN: OF David DeJesus right foot, bruised by a pitch in the eighth inning Monday, was sore and swollen Tuesday and kept him out of action.

Matt Joyce moved to left and the leadoff spot, and with no left-handers on their four-man bench, the Rays used righty Logan Forsythe as the DH against Toronto RHP Drew Hutchison.

"We had really no other options at that point," manager Joe Maddon said. "Not enough left-handed bats to balance it out."

DeJesus wouldn't have started tonight against LHP Mark Buehrle anyway, but Maddon said he may be available to pinch-hit.

REPLAY IN ACTION: Instant replay was used twice. Once when it didn't seem necessary, at the umpires' discretion on a long foul ball by Toronto's Colby Rasmus in the seventh inning that after more than 31/2 minutes was confirmed as foul. And once in the ninth on a challenge by Jays manager John Gibbons that after 1:20 was confirmed as an out at first after a dazzling play by Evan Longoria and James Loney. Maddon earlier again considered a challenge on a play at second but after a sign from bench coach Dave Martinez ("a sad face,'' Maddon joked), he declined to pursue it.

Overall, Maddon said the process worked. "All protocol was attended to,'' he said. "The umpires did everything right.'' MINOR MATTERS: The Rays set their rotation at Triple-A Durham, with RH Nathan Karns starting the Thursday opener, followed by LH Enny Romero, RH Matt Andriese, LH Mike Montgomery and LH Erik Bedard. Opening starters for the other affiliates: Double-A Montgomery, RH Victor Mateo; advanced Class A Charlotte, RH Roberto Gomez; Class A Bowling Green, RH Jacob Faria.

MISCELLANY: C Chris Gimenez was designated for assignment by Texas, and if he clears waivers expect the Rays to push to sign him for depth at Durham. … CF Desmond Jennings will bat leadoff tonight vs. Buehrle and Forsythe and Sean Rodriguez will play, with Maddon deciding between sitting Matt Joyce (hitting .800) and Loney. … Tuesday was the official release date for Double Play, the co-autobiography by 2B Ben Zobrist and wife Julianna, available online and in stores. … LHP David Price raised $54,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters with his third Bowl for Kids' Sake event Saturday, $124,000 over three years.

Surgery for Zimmer

Senior adviser Don Zimmer is expected to have a procedure to repair a heart valve this month, son Tom Zimmer said.

Zimmer, 83, has been having a number of health issues, including shortness of breath, and gets tired very easily, limiting his mobility, Tom said. Zimmer was wearing tubes for oxygen during his appearance at Monday's season opener while riding in a golf cart and looked somewhat uncomfortable.

Marc Topkin, Times staff writer

Rays' Matt Moore encouraged by mechanical tweak 04/01/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 2, 2014 12:29am]
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