Thursday, February 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays' Moore holds out hope for All-Star slot

ST. PETERSBURG — Despite his 12 wins, Rays LHP Matt Moore was still not a member of the American League All-Star team on Sunday.

But with the potential for at least three pitchers on the team to be replaced because they are slated to start next Sunday, two days before the game, Moore is a strong candidate to be added this week.

"If it happens that some of the guys that made the team are not available because of the day they pitch, I would love to help out if I'm a part of that group of guys that can be considered for that, absolutely," Moore said. "I think it'd be great. If it happens that way, I would definitely be okay with that."

Of the eight starters on the AL roster for the July 16 game, three are lined up to start Sunday, which typically rules them out to pitch two days later: Detroit's Justin Verlander, Oakland's Bartolo Colon and Seattle's Hisashi Iwakuma.

Oakland manager Bob Melvin said Sunday he hopes closer Grant Balfour (an ex-Ray) will be named to replace Colon. Moore, ex-Ray/current Royal James Shields, Royals reliever Greg Holland and Texas' Derek Holland are among other candidates.

The exclusion of Rays 3B Evan Longoria from the team may have been a bigger deal. Several national media named him among the biggest snubs as AL/Detroit manager Jim Leyland sought more versatility in surprisingly picking the Rays' Ben Zobrist.

Longoria sounded disappointed, though he said he wasn't.

"There's a lot of guys that probably could have made a good bid for the All-Star Game," he said. "Of course, I would love to be there. But you can't really be disappointed. I just go out there every day and play as well as I can play to really win, and that's all that matters. If your performance is noticed by your peers, then it's a very special thing. But regardless, you don't really play for the All-Star Game; you play to play in the postseason and win a championship."

'ZO ON THE GO: Zobrist said he remained surprised and a bit dazed to be headed to the All-Star Game.

"I'm still kind of shocked, still kind of confused," he said. "I don't know that it's really sunk in yet. But I guess as we get closer and we make plans and things like that, it'll start to become more of a reality.

"I kind of woke up (Sunday) morning and thought, 'Was that real, or was that something I added to the night in my head?' It's kind of still something I'm trying to process."

TAYLOR NO-GO: RHP Taylor Guerrieri, the Rays' top young pitching prospect, withdrew from the All-Star Futures Game. The Rays want Guerrieri, 20, to have extra rest as he pitches in his first full minor-league season. He is 6-2 with a 2.08 ERA in 13 starts for Class A Bowling Green.

GOOD AND BAD: C Jose Molina threw out two potential base stealers in a game for the first time in more than a year Sunday vs. the White Sox and has nailed four straight, though only 10 of 43 overall. … 1B James Loney was 0-for-3 and disappointed his hitting streak ended at 16 games, three shy of the team record.

COBB UPDATE: RHP Alex Cobb hopes to throw another bullpen session today as he continues recovering from the concussion, headaches and issues sustained June 15 when hit by a line drive. "I've really improved a lot the last few days," he said. "The vertigo's almost gone."

MISCELLANY: Longoria played third base for a third straight game and said his sore right foot "is getting better every day." … The only other time the Rays swept the Sox in a three-or-more-game series was 2008. … The Rays are still talking to sixth-rounder RHP Stephen Woods, their highest unsigned draft pick, heading toward Friday's deadline. … RHP Jeff Ames threw five no-hit innings Saturday to extend his scoreless streak to 24 innings, and Class A Bowling Green finished with a one-hitter.

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