Sunday, December 17, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay Rays' Matt Moore likely to miss second live batting practice session

PORT CHARLOTTE — Rays LHP Matt Moore (lower abdominal strain) is feeling better, but not enough to where he'll be able to make his second scheduled live batting practice session today.

But manager Joe Maddon reiterated that he's not concerned and wouldn't be unless Moore's injury lasted a couple of weeks.

"It's an over-conservative thing we're doing right now," Maddon said. "I really believe the next day or two, he should be fine."

Moore, who suffered the mild strain in Friday's bullpen session, felt it enough Tuesday morning to prevent him from throwing. He has been able to do all the other drills and stretching, with the discomfort only coming at the final part of his delivery.

"It is (frustrating), but at the same time, I'm happy my arm is healthy and my legs are feeling good," he said. "It's a little hiccup. There are no red flags. It's no different than if I strained my calf."

SCOTT to sit: Maddon said DH Luke Scott will not play in the first 3-4 exhibition games as he continues to recover from shoulder surgery. "The priority with a guy like him is to be ready April 6," Maddon said

PITCHING IN: Maddon was impressed with RHPs Matt Bush and Jeff Niemann in Tuesday's live BP sessions. Maddon continues to like Bush's delivery, stuff and attitude as the Padres' 2004 top pick tries to turn his career around.

"His breaking ball is pretty advanced for this part of camp already," Maddon said. "That, and I like the way he's dealing with everything. Here's a young man that's gotten a second chance and he's done a lot of good with it. It's impressive to watch."

Bush, 26, is coming off his first full pro season as a pitcher, after the converted shortstop had Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery in 2007. In 712/3 minor-league innings, he has 113 strikeouts and 29 walks, boasting a changeup and curveball with a mid 90s fastball.

"This guy can miss bats with the best of them," pitching coach Jim Hickey said. "You can see it would translate to the next level and major-league level because of the quality of the fastball."

Though Bush is likely to start the season in Triple A and needs more time, Hickey said he's a pitcher that can "come real quick" and possibly help the Rays this season.

"This is the kind of guy that, with a little bit more seasoning, I can at least envision a scenario where we're comfortable having him pitch for us," Hickey said.

CATCHING UP: Maddon acknowledged it'll be tough to balance and juggle the catching rotation this camp, with pitchers getting used to veteran C Jose Molina, as well as assessing the three-way competition for backup (Robinson Chirinos, Jose Lobaton and Chris Gimenez). "It's hard to divide that many catchers among the innings," Maddon said. "So we may also include them in the DH part of the game. … But a big part of it is seeing them behind the plate."

MISCELLANY: Maddon said SS Reid Brignac and Sean Rodriguez will alternate starts in their competition. … Maddon said they'll shorten today's workout in an effort to keep players off their feet.

Joe Smith can be reached at [email protected].

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