Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays still evaluating Matt Moore's injured elbow

CINCINNATI — The Rays had no news Thursday on LHP Matt Moore, saying they are still evaluating the status of his injured left elbow and have no set time frame for a decision.

The primary point of discussion is whether Moore, as he said he hopes to do, can — or should — try to continue pitching despite having at least a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament or if he would be better off having Tommy John ligament-replacement surgery, which will sideline him for at least a year.

There have been pitchers who were able to do rehab and compete with partial tears for several years, such as St. Louis' Adam Wainwright, though sports injury expert Will Carroll wrote that the success rate is about 12 percent.

Moore, 24, left Monday's game against the Royals complaining of soreness in his elbow, woke up feeling better Tuesday and had an MRI exam in Kansas City, then Wednesday went to see noted specialist Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola for a more detailed MRI and examination.

As the Rays weigh Moore's long-term future, they are expected to decide today on who will take his next turn in the rotation on Sunday. Their choices are to call up veteran LHP Erik Bedard from Triple-A Durham or use long reliever LHP Cesar Ramos, both of whom competed for a rotation spot in spring training, losing out to RHP Jake Odorizzi.

SPECIAL K: OF Kevin Kiermaier, who made a dramatic major-league debut last year in Game 163, was called up from Durham and will be added to the roster today.

That move gives the Rays additional maneuverability at least for the first two games of the NL rules-series against the Reds, as Kiermaier is a lefty hitter with some speed and an excellent defender.

Kiermaier, 23, is hitting .310 through seven games for the Bulls with two home runs. He was a defensive replacement in Game 163 and the AL wild-card playoff game but has yet to have an at-bat in the majors.

NL RULES: Manager Joe Maddon is not a fan of interleague play anyway, believing the American League teams are at a distinct disadvantage when playing under National League rules with their pitchers having to hit, such as this weekend.

Even more so that the Rays have to do so this early in the season.

"It's such an awkward thing," he said.

Maddon's primary concern is injury to pitchers, specifically pulling a muscle taking swings or running the bases, although pitching coach Jim Hickey has had the pitchers on a program since spring training.

The Rays are 39-34 in NL parks under Maddon, winning 16 of their past 26, though 64-80 overall. Their next NL-rules series is June 2-3 in Miami.

KING DAVID: Going back to spring training when he looked at the schedule to see he would get a start this weekend, LHP David Price has been openly excited about the chance to hit, getting max enjoyment out of each round of batting practice.

But all that fun likely will come to an end tonight when he steps in to face Reds RHP Johnny Cueto.

"I'm definitely excited to go hit … but I think I know the reality of it," said Price, who is 2-for-24 (with his last hit in 2010). "It's extremely tough. Cueto's really good. I just want to have good at-bats."

MISCELLANY: Cincinnati's Great American Ball Park and Dodger Stadium are the only two current major-league parks in which the Rays have never won. … The Rays are well aware of speedy Reds OF Billy Hamilton, who can run wild on the bases. "If you walk the guy, it's essentially a triple," Price said. … MLB's On-Field Diversity Task Force, which includes Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg, on Thursday launched initiatives to focus on getting more African-Americans involved in the game.

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