Thursday, June 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays' Moore muddles through debut

PORT CHARLOTTE — The best thing about LHP Matt Moore's spring debut Thursday was he got through it.

Moore didn't throw very hard or very well, allowing three hits and two walks in throwing 33 pitches to get four outs in an 11-2 loss to Detroit.

"I was real happy with being able to get out there and feel pain-free, feel nice," Moore, 23, said. "Let's just get this thing going, let's get some work going."

Moore said he hasn't built up to throwing his usual fastball, clocked typically in the lower 90s.

"I think that's just a result of getting my arm in velocity shape as camp goes on, at least I hope," he said.

He also said he didn't have a good feel on some of his offspeed pitches. On the plus side, he did get to work on his slide-step in holding on runners.

Manager Joe Maddon said Moore, who was 11-11 with a 3.81 ERA as a rookie, was healthy and that was all that mattered.

"It was not what you would call sharp, but it was effective in the sense that he got his requisite number of pitches in," Maddon said. "Not as sharp as he can be but will be."

LHP Jake McGee also had a rough outing, allowing three hits and a walk. He too wasn't throwing at his usual upper-90s velocity, and he said he was working specifically on his cutter.

GREENER PASTURES: DH Luke Scott started in rightfield, his first outfield action since July 3, 2011, just after the right shoulder injury that required surgery and hampered him last season.

Scott did well in limited exposure — one fly ball and a couple of base hits — and said he feels healthy enough and comfortable enough to play in the field occasionally. Maddon said the team is open to using him in leftfield, and at first base at times, thinking it could make him more productive as a DH.

Kelly Johnson started in left for the second straight day and didn't have any major issues, part of the program to increase his versatility.

GAME DETAILS: RHP Roberto Hernandez, making a strong bid for a rotation spot, overcame a two-walk first to work 2⅓ innings on 33 pitches. … RHP Joel Peralta made his spring debut with a one-hit seventh. … OF/1B Leslie Anderson had two more hits, hiking his average to .538. … 3B Evan Longoria got hits in his first two at-bats, making him 4-for-4 since the birth of daughter Elle. Then he grounded out.

KIRBY WITH A K: Maddon said he was impressed for a second time by RHP Kirby Yates, a 5-10 reliever who signed as a nondrafted free agent and has worked his way to Double-A Montgomery, going 4-2 with 16 saves and a 2.65 ERA for the Biscuits. "You got to keep your eye on that guy," Maddon said. "He's one of those guys who comes into a camp and nobody talks a lot about but — great composure, good stuff, knows how to throw a strike. He's been nice."

MISCELLANY: Players, coaches and team officials on March 15 will again shave their heads to raise funds for the Pediatric Cancer Foundation. … RHP Jeff Niemann turned 30, joking he was glad former teammate James Shields had already broken the team streak of consecutive starts by pitchers under 30.

Comments
Rays journal: 7 pitches, 3 straight homers prove too much in loss to Astros

Rays journal: 7 pitches, 3 straight homers prove too much in loss to Astros

HOUSTON — The Rays were engaged in a third straight tight, go-either-way battle with the defending champ Astros on Wednesday.Until they were not.A brutal seven-pitch sequence by starter Nathan Eovaldi changed everything, as he gave up three con...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Rays see the results of keeping a good, young core group together

Rays see the results of keeping a good, young core group together

HOUSTON — The Rays saw a lot on the weeklong trip that ended with Wednesday's game against that Astros, beyond the street hustlers prowling in Times Square and the urban cowboys and girls parading through H-town.There was an impressive debuting...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Wednesday’s Rays-Astros game

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Wednesday’s Rays-Astros game

RHP Nathan Eovaldi said before his rough start Wednesday against the Astros that he was pitching better than his numbers showed. Well … In four starts since his six no-hit innings debut, he's 0-3 with a 6.17 ERA, allowing eight homers, four Wed...
Updated: 3 hours ago
For starters: Rays at Astros, with a different look

For starters: Rays at Astros, with a different look

UPDATE, 6:43: Cash said the key to how the pieced the lineup together was the opportunity to give Cron (who is struggling) and Duffy (who is doing well) back to back days off. … Looking ahead to the weekend, the Rays will use RHP Ryne Stanek as...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Kevin Kiermaier returns to the Rays

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Kevin Kiermaier returns to the Rays

Times sports columnist Tom Jones joins Rick Stroud to discuss Kevin Kiermaier's return to the Rays, whether Victor Hedman should win the Norris Trophy for the NHL's best defenseman, Bucs expectations for this season and Barry Trotz's next c...
Published: 06/20/18
How the Rays really won Tuesday’s game over Astros

How the Rays really won Tuesday’s game over Astros

There was some interesting inside baseball elements that factored into the late innings of Tuesday's 2-1 Rays win.* First, on Matt Duffy's double off reliever Hector Rondon to lead off the eighth.Duffy said he doesn't like "to guess" what a pitcher i...
Published: 06/20/18
Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier returns, with energy to spare

Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier returns, with energy to spare

HOUSTON — Energy.That's what Kevin Kiermaier said he felt he'd provide most in rejoining the Rays Tuesday against the Astros after missing two-plus months recovering from thumb surgery."I like to think I bring energy on both sides of the ball, ...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/20/18
Rays journal: Blake Snell outlasts Justin Verlander in 2-1 win

Rays journal: Blake Snell outlasts Justin Verlander in 2-1 win

HOUSTON — The starting pitcher walked seven over seven otherwise solid innings Tuesday. That seemed weird enough for the Rays. Then the next pitcher they brought in was the one who started Monday's game. Even more bizarre.And then there was thi...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/20/18
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays-Astros

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays-Astros

This is how odd LHP Blake Snell's night was — he became the first pitcher to work seven or more innings and walk at least seven since Edwin Jackson threw his 149-pitch, eight-walk no-hitter at the Rays on June 25, 2010.If you weren't aware of t...
Published: 06/19/18
For starters: Rays at Astros, with Kiermaier back and an ace-high matchup

For starters: Rays at Astros, with Kiermaier back and an ace-high matchup

UPDATE, 6:45: Cash said Smith will continue to play a lot, getting time in LF and RF, meaning something of a rotation system for rookie Johnny Field and veteran Carlos Gomez.UPDATE, 4:49: Kiermaier is batting leadoff and playing center as expected, w...
Published: 06/19/18