Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Rays play it safe with prized rookie Matt Moore

PORT CHARLOTTE — LHP Matt Moore said it wasn't a big deal and he already was feeling better. Manager Joe Maddon said he wouldn't even consider it a setback.

But the reality was that Moore, the talented 22-year-old left-hander, was forced to miss his scheduled batting practice session Monday due to what the Rays called "a mild lower abdominal strain."

Maddon said head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield was just being overly cautious — "Just being Ronnie" — and Moore said it was "a possibility" he could be back on the mound as soon as Wednesday.

Moore first felt the discomfort during his Friday bullpen session, centered just below his belly button but not restricting his movements. "It feels like a sore muscle," he said. "Like if you had a sore hamstring."

The Rays were concerned enough to limit Moore to playing catch at 60 feet on Saturday and 75 on Sunday, then have him rest Monday, but not enough to have him have an MRI exam.

"I don't feel like it's a major setback just because I told (the training staff) and I threw the next couple days," Moore said. "If it was something major I would have shut it down and just been like, 'Hey, this is it for right now.' … In the last couple of days it seems to already be getting better."

Maddon said the delay would not have any impact on Moore being ready to start the regular season.

"I don't anticipate it being a long time before Matt gets out there, and I don't consider it a setback at all," he said. "I don't see any issues at all right now. It sounds pretty benign from what they're telling me."

PRICE VS. TWINS: LHP David Price will start Saturday's exhibition opener against the Twins in Fort Myers. The Rays will use a six-man rotation through the spring, Maddon said, allowing them to get all of their top candidates — James Shields, Jeremy Hellickson, Wade Davis, Jeff Niemann, Moore and Price — fully stretched out, then sort out which five will open the season as starters.

PITCHING IN: LHP J.P. Howell was among the pitchers who stood out during the live batting practice sessions, specifically with the movement on his pitches. "I don't know there was any moment last year he threw the ball that well as I saw" Monday, Maddon said.

Also impressing were RHPs Fernando Rodney, the veteran free-agent addition; Dane De La Rosa, the 29-year-old rookie who debuted last season; and Ricky Orta, a 27-year-old who missed the past two seasons recovering from elbow surgery. "I can't be thankful enough," Orta said.

RHP Brandon Gomes, coming off lower back surgery, had a bullpen session Monday, with another scheduled Wednesday before throwing his first batting practice Saturday.

FIELD WORK: Maddon praised the position players for their intensity during bunt defense and other drills, saying, "It may be Feb. 27, but I promise you on like July 3 if you don't have it down it's going to make a big difference in that game."

MISCELLANY: Regular-season individual game tickets went on sale Monday at all outlets, including the Tropicana Field box office, team Tampa store and Ticketmaster. … Principal owner Stuart Sternberg is expected at camp today. … Thursday's 11 a.m. intrasquad game will not be open to the public. … LHP Dave LaPoint, who pitched for the Cardinals and eight other teams in a 12-year big-league career, was a Monday guest.

Tampa Bay Rays play it safe with prized rookie Matt Moore 02/27/12 [Last modified: Monday, February 27, 2012 7:15pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Kevin Cash: 'We've got to turn it around. ... Time is of the essence'


    The question to manager Kevin Cash was about a rematch with the Mariners this weekend at the Trop, but he made clear this afternoon that with his Rays losing nine of their last 12 that they have to treat every game as essential.

    "We've got to start playing good baseball games whether we match up well against that team or not," Kevin Cash said.
  2. Lightning wing J.T. Brown on why he donated to remove Confederate statue


    Lightning wing J.T. Brown was back in his Minneapolis offseason home over the weekend when he saw on TV the violent protests in Charlottesville over the removal of a Confederate statue.

    J.T. Brown decided to get involved, donating $1,500 to assist in removing a Confederate statue in Tampa.
  3. Rays, Bucs and Lightning join Dungy in donating to move Confederate monument


    The Tampa Bay area's three major league sports teams have pledged their financial support in moving a Confederate monument out of downtown Tampa.

    Tony Dungy in 2011. [Getty]
  4. Tim Tebow came into their life, and never left


    There are a lot of stories about Tim Tebow connecting with people during his life, Tebow inspiring them and Tebow being inspired.

    Boomer Hornbeck of Naples, Fla., has battled cerebral palsy and undergone surgery after surgery in the hopes of allowing him to one day walk. Inspired by Tim Tebow, and encouraged by his relationship with him, Hornbeck has become a motivational speaker.
  5. For starters: Rays at Jays, with Longoria moved to No. 2 spot in order


    UPDATE, 3:10: Cash said the change was made primarily for two reasons, to change the look for several of the hitters and to get back to alternating lefty and righty hitters to make it tougher for opposing managers to match up relievers. Cash said he plans to stick with this structure for a while but doesn't …

    Evan Longoria was moved from his usual No. 3 spot in the batting order up to second.