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Moore leaves game with elbow soreness

UPDATE, 1:16 AM: Here is a link to our final story of the night on Moore.

DEVELOPING: Rays starter Matt Moore's problems are no longer just mechanical.

Moore was removed from Monday's game after noticeably grimacing after a fifth-inning pitch to Nori Aoki, and seemed to be shaking his arm and clenching his left hand as he left.

The Rays said Moore left the game with elbow soreness. They also said initial tests were inconsistent and that "there's no reason to believe it's serious at this time," but also that he will have an MRI on Tuesday morning.

For the night, Moore threw 78 pitches (48 strikes), allowing one run - after a leadoff triple in the first - on four hits with two walks. His last pitch was a changeup, recorded at 85 mph per Two fastballs earlier in the at-bat were clocked at 91 mph.

Moore's mechanics and corresponding lapses in control were a popular topic of conversation throughout an eventful spring training, as he also was hit in the face by a line drive, requiring stitches in his lip. An unsteady season debut on Wednesday furthered the conversation.

Rays manager Joe Maddon said before Monday's game he had seen progress.

"Delivery-wise, being more able to throw the ball where he wants to I see that as continuing to get better,'' Maddon said. "The windup's gotten a lot better. Now the stretch part of it has to re-catch up to the windup, because I thought there was a time I liked him better out of the stretch than the wind up, so it's almost reversing that.

"But he'll get it. He's going to get both sides of this whole thing and heads up when he does. I also believe with the adjustments that he's made, the stuff has gotten a little bit better. The fastball is better, the breaking ball looks sharper to me, because he's staying behind the ball better when he throws it, like a hitter wants to stay behind the ball, the thrower wants to stay behind the ball. It's better mechanically, so I'm seeing all that."

If the Rays need a long-term replacement for Moore, the first choice likely would be veteran Erik Bedard, who resigned a minor-league deal with the Rays after losing out to Jake Odoizzi on the fifth starter's job in spring training, and worked four innings Monday for Triple-A Durham. Bedard would have to be added to the 40-man roster, and the Rays would risk losing him if/when they wanted to send him back to the minors.

Other options include Cesar Ramos, who relieved Moore Monday and also showed well during the spring competition, or lefty Mike Montgomery, who is on the 40-man roster and showed well in his season debut Sunday.