Saturday, February 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays' Moore continues to make progress

ST. PETERSBURG — LHP Matt Moore (elbow soreness) was so happy with how he threw — and felt — in Saturday's three-inning simulated game that he wanted to make his next start Thursday against the Angels.

But though the Rays were encouraged by Moore's 49-pitch session, manager Joe Maddon said they were thinking the All-Star would return to the rotation after the Sept. 1 roster expansion a week from today.

Maddon thought Moore, out since July 29, looked good and comfortable with solid command but was not ready to come back. The next step was to be a bullpen session or another simulated game Tuesday or Wednesday. Moore would then need another outing before rejoining the Rays, Maddon said.

After Saturday's game against the Yankees, the Rays said their starters against the Angels would be Roberto Hernandez, Chris Archer and David Price. Hernandez worked a nine-pitch inning in relief Friday and threw a bullpen session Saturday.

"I feel like I could pitch Thursday against Anaheim," Moore said before the game. "I feel like if I go out there and throw again, I don't want to say it's going to be a waste, but at the same time, if I can be throwing in a game, I'd rather be doing that."

Moore threw all his pitches against two 2013 draft picks, SS Riley Unroe and C Nick Ciuffo, who came up from the Gulf Coast League team in Port Charlotte. He liked the way his fastball came out and how he was able to make adjustments. It didn't bother him to throw his changeup, another good sign.

"It was a normal day of pitching for me," he said. "(Saturday) was a very positive day."

WIL THE DH: Rookie OF Wil Myers was back in the lineup against the Yankees, though at DH for the fifth time in his past eight starts. Maddon insisted it was purely the product of wanting to rest Myers as he plays into September — and possibly October — for the first time. Sam Fuld started in right and Sean Rodriguez in left.

"This is a great time to not have (Myers) be on his feet," Maddon said. "And probably the most overriding point of that whole thing is that he does not mind DHing."

Myers, 22, pretty much agreed.

"I like it; DH is fun," he said. "Physically I'm fine; there's no problems. I don't have any arm problems, nothing with my legs or anything. I'm fine. I was talking to Joe the other day, and he just said I'm not used to playing late in September and definitely not in October, so it's one of those things he just wants to make sure I'm rested. I feel fine."

In his first seven games at DH, Myers hit .357 (10-for-28) with a homer and 10 RBIs; in 47 games in the outfield, he has hit .318 with seven homers and 26 RBIs.

WEB GEM: Rodriguez made the game's best defensive play, a leaping grab atop the wall in left to rob Alfonso Soriano in the sixth. "I didn't know if it was going to get out or not," Rodriguez said. "Glad it didn't."

MINOR MATTERS: Rays minor-league RHP Victor Mateo, a 24-year-old Dominican, pitched a no-hitter for Double-A Montgomery on Saturday in a 3-0 win over Jacksonville. It was his second no-hitter in seven pro seasons. … Delmon Young went 2-for-4 in his second game for Montgomery.

MISCELLANY: 2B Ben Zobrist set the Rays franchise record of 76 consecutive games without an error at second base, snapping the mark held by Akinori Iwamura. … The Rays will take only 21 players to Monday's makeup game in Kansas City, with the other four starting pitchers (other than RHP Jeremy Hellickson) staying back, Maddon said.

Times staff writer Marc Topkin contributed to this report.

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