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Rays not sure if Matt Moore will need surgery

Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Matt Moore, left, walks off the field with a trainer following an injury during the sixth inning of the MLB American League baseball game against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Monday, April 7, 2014. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner) MOOW116

Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Matt Moore, left, walks off the field with a trainer following an injury during the sixth inning of the MLB American League baseball game against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Monday, April 7, 2014. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner) MOOW116

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Rays officials will further discuss and evaluate the status of LHP Matt Moore today in deciding whether he needs surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow.

"It needs to be looked at a little bit more deeply because it's not a slam dunk surgery right now," manager Joe Maddon said.

Moore was examined Wednesday by noted specialist Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola and had a more detailed MRI (with dye injected to provide higher contrast), with those results factoring heavily in the decision. Tommy John surgery would mean missing more than a year; Moore said he was hoping for a way to pitch through it.

"What (executive VP Andrew Friedman) wanted to do was discuss it in more depth (today) based on the results as we get them," Maddon said. "We need to get all the facts and see how we want to proceed with this, see if surgery is necessary, if it's not necessary, we're still waiting to find out."

Among the questions are how much Moore's UCL is torn and how much damage is new vs. existing, with part of that process comparing Wednesday's MRI with past ones.

"I don't think it's fully torn from what I understand, but I don't know that," Maddon said. "The test (Wednesday) with the dye would probably be more conclusive."

If they opt for surgery, it won't take place today, Maddon said.

EXTRA HAND: LHP Jeff Beliveau was optioned back to Triple-A Durham after pitching a scoreless seventh and is expected to be replaced by an extra position player for at least the first two games of the NL-rules weekend series in Cincinnati. Most likely that will be a left-handed hitter, making INF Vince Belnome and OF Kevin Kiermaier the most likely candidates.

TAKING THE FIFTH: The Rays will keep their rotation in order and fill Moore's open slot Sunday, but Maddon said they still hadn't decided whether to call up veteran LHP Erik Bedard from Triple A or promote LHP Cesar Ramos from his long relief role.

Neither is stretched out enough to work deep into a game, but Maddon said the issue is as much based on conversations about contingency plans they had with both this spring: "We really try to adhere to what we tell … our players."

Worth noting: Ramos took batting practice with the other starters Wednesday; and he pitched the eighth, which Maddon said was to keep him sharp and was neither a factor nor a hint.

APPEAL PLAY: Maddon continued to complain about the way umpires are "redesigning the force play" with a revised, stricter interpretation on the rules regarding the transfer of the ball from glove to throwing hand. 2B Ben Zobrist, who was on the wrong end of such a play Tuesday, took action, contacting players union chief Tony Clark, who said he will meet this week with MLB officials to further discuss.

On Tuesday, Kansas City's Alcides Escobar was called safe, and the call upheld via replay, after Zobrist dropped the ball trying to make a throw. "It's a bad interpretation of the rule," Zobrist said. "It doesn't make sense at all."

MISCELLANY: Maddon dropped pressing RF Wil Myers from second to seventh and liked what he saw in a 2-for-4 day; Myers said he felt better at the plate. … 3B Evan Longoria was bruised but okay after being hit by a pitch below his ribs Wednesday and taking a ball off his palm Tuesday. … The Rays have lost eight of their past nine in Kansas City. … CF Desmond Jennings' homer was his first in 24 games vs. the Royals. … Though aware C Ryan Hanigan is excited to face his old Reds teammates, Maddon plans to start C Jose Molina Friday to keep him paired with LHP David Price. … The Royals were unsuccessful in challenging a caught-stealing play at third that ended the second inning.

Rays not sure if Matt Moore will need surgery 04/09/14 [Last modified: Thursday, April 10, 2014 12:51am]

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