Thursday, February 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays' Moore shut down with elbow discomfort

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays will get RHP Alex Cobb back on the mound tonight, but LHP Matt Moore's return has been delayed indefinitely after he felt discomfort in his elbow Wednesday and will be shut down from throwing until Sunday.

Moore had hoped to come off the disabled list and start Saturday but felt what he described as "a very little bit" of discomfort 30-40 pitches into a bullpen session.

"I felt good, but good isn't great, and good isn't 100 percent, and I think that that's what we're really aiming for is to get back out there and be 100 percent right," Moore said. "There's still a few things in doubt that we're not comfortable with so we're just going to give it a couple more days of no throwing and see where we're at."

Though team officials said this was not a setback, it certainly seems to be. Moore, who last pitched July 28, said he has "no idea" when he will be ready to pitch in a game, and there is no time frame beyond resuming throwing — and not necessarily off the mound — on Sunday. RHP Roberto Hernandez will start Saturday; RHP Jeremy Hellickson starts Friday.

Moore was encouraged after his first bullpen session Sunday, but Wednesday obviously did not go as well.

"It doesn't feel right from the aspect of throwing 30-40 pitches into my bullpen, I'm not at a place I would normally be 30-40 pitches in my bullpen," Moore said. "It's kind of like picking a scab. It's good until I pick that scab once. I should say it's great until I pick that scab once, then it kind of just turns into, 'Okay, this is just good, my arm doesn't feel 100 percent right now.' "

Moore said it was "enough (discomfort) that we want to make sure that if I go back out there it's not something I have to be shut down again for."

He also said he was confident that with the combination of continued treatment and a few days' rest the elbow is "going to be a lot better after the break."

COBB REPORT: Cobb returns to the Tropicana Field mound two months to the day since he left on a stretcher after being hit in the head by a line drive, leading to a concussion and vertigo symptoms that he still has, though not when pitching, saying he is extremely excited and not the least bit apprehensive.

"I'm going out there to help this team win," Cobb said. "If I felt like I wasn't at that point, then I would have let them know I needed more time."

Cobb, who threw a batting practice session off the mound several weeks ago, compares his excitement to his big-league or season debut. Also, he said he felt like he has been out the entire season.

"It feels like it's been so long and so many things have happened since I've been gone, so it's going to be like starting all over, a new season for me," he said.

FOR EVERY ACTION: With Moore not ready, Hernandez will keep his spot in the rotation and pitch Saturday. With Hellickson starting Friday and RHP Chris Archer on Sunday, it could be a busy weekend for the bullpen as none have been pitching very well.

The Rays have to make room to reinstate Cobb from the 60-day DL with a position player — either INF Ryan Roberts, who has options, or OF Jason Bourgeois, who does not — most likely to go. They also have to create space on the 40-man roster.

MEDICAL REPORT: CF Desmond Jennings said his fractured left middle finger felt "all right" after taking about 10 swings at a ball on a tee Wednesday, and he remains hopeful of returning from the DL when eligible Monday, which would lead to the other position player being sent down. "It's looking pretty good actually," Maddon said. … RHP Jesse Crain (shoulder strain) played catch again Wednesday and is "progressing well," Maddon said, though there is no timetable for his return.

MISCELLANY: OF Delmon Young — who might be of interest to the Rays — was released by the Phillies and is free to sign anywhere. White Sox 1B Paul Konerko could also be of interest. … OF Wil Myers had been 0-for-his-past-15 before homering in the sixth.

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