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Tampa Bay Rays call up top pitching prospect Matt Moore

ST. PETERSBURG — Three-and-a-half games out is apparently close enough, as the Rays are calling up fireballing LHP Matt Moore in an attempt to bolster their bullpen.

Moore, 22, emerged as one of the top prospects in the game with a spectacular 2011 season, going a combined 12-3, 1.92 with 210 strikeouts in 155 innings at Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham.

Moore, with a fastball clocked in the high 90-mph range, joins the Rays today in Baltimore as the bullpen is shorthanded with closer Kyle Farnsworth sidelined by elbow tenderness.

The team will have to see how Moore handles the transition to the bullpen, and if it goes well, he could play a key role as LHP David Price did in 2008. A similar move last year with RHP Jeremy Hellickson didn't work as well. LHP Alex Torres, another prospect, is also expected to be called up this week.

With Farnsworth out indefinitely, the Rays initially will use a matchup approach to cover the late innings.

"We've got be very open-minded and flexible right now," manager Joe Maddon said. "We can't have any kind of set parameters. We just can't."

RHP Joel Peralta, who has 102 minor-league saves (including 20 last season for Washington's Triple-A team), is the top candidate for closing duties, and LHP J.P. Howell (trying to get back to his 2009 17-save form) is also going to be in the mix.

Farnsworth said he will rest and receive extensive treatment on his tender right elbow for a few days before even playing catch to determine if it feels better. "It's really day by day," he said. "Hopefully it gets better fast."

Maddon suggested Farns­worth could be ready as soon as Tuesday, but that seems unlikely. "There's been different times this year he's been a little bit iffy with his arm or his elbow, and he's actually come back pretty quickly to where we didn't even have to recognize it." Maddon said. "So we'll just see."

BASH BROTHERS: Manny Upton was the proudest papa in the building Sunday.

When B.J. Upton hit a fifth-inning grand slam for his 20th homer of the season, he made history as he and Justin, the Diamondbacks rightfielder, became the first brothers in history to have 20-homer, 20-steal seasons in the same year.

"I'm very proud of them," Manny Upton said. "That's a big accomplishment."

B.J., who is three years older at 27, had 20 steals by the end of June, and Justin got to 20 homers by late July. Justin logged his 20th steal in late August, so they were all waiting for B.J.'s 20th homer, which came in grand fashion — his first — and was followed by a curtain call.

"It was definitely good for the family," B.J. said. "And especially the first grand slam. Couldn't ask for a better day."

Justin sent a quick congratulatory text. After his game in Arizona, he said: "Definitely a cool accomplishment. We're glad we're the first. I hope we can do it again."

The Uptons also became the seventh set of brothers to have 20 homers each in a season and the eighth to combine for at least 50.

MISCELLANY: INF/OF Russ Canzler — still thrilled over his unexpected callup, and excited to see family that will come to Baltimore from his Hazleton, Pa., hometown — joined the team, along with RHP Dane De La Rosa, who got the final two outs. … To make room for Canzler on the 40-man roster, RHP Mike Ekstrom was designated for assignment; another move will be made today for Moore. … DH Johnny Damon had his 514th career double, tying Edgar Martinez for 44th all time. … Red Sox LF Carl Crawford is hitting .158 (6-for-38) against the Rays.

Tampa Bay Rays call up top pitching prospect Matt Moore 09/11/11 [Last modified: Sunday, September 11, 2011 11:48pm]
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