ST. PETERSBURG – The white-hot Tampa Bay Rays have encountered their first real bump in the road:
Lefty Matt Moore is headed to the disabled list with a sore muscle in his pitching elbow. Moore said he felt it whenever he threw a change-up during Sunday’s start in New York against the Yankees. Rather than tell Tampa Bay’s coaching staff, Moore decided to stay in and rely on just his fastball and curve.
The move is retroactive to Monday.
“I think there’s times, typically, when things are sore like that and they kind of go away after a little while,” Moore said Wednesday prior to the Rays’ game against the Arizona Diamondback. “That one kind of didn’t. ... We were in a tie ballgame with a well-rested bullpen, so there was no reason for me to be out there when I had a little discomfort.”
Moore underwent an MRI on Monday and felt more discomfort Wednesday while playing catch with trainer Ron Porterfield.
“As soon as I felt something I said, ‘Hey, that’s it. I’m still a little sore right there,’” Moore said. “That was about 70 feet when we were throwing. Started stretching it out a little bit, and that was I kind of the moment when I started to feel it. But it was a lot better than it was the other night.”
There is never a good time to lose an asset such as Moore, who is 14-3 with 3.41 ERA for a Tampa Bay team that is 21-4 in the month of July. But considering the Rays have four off days in the next two weeks, the timing could have been worse.
“The schedule’s in our favor. Theoretically, he may miss like one start,” manager Joe Maddon said. “And then get back after the road trip and everything will be cool after that.”
Maddon wished Moore had said something when the pain flared up Sunday during the second inning, but understood why he didn’t.
“I don’t think he was 100 percent sure that there was anything wrong at that point. Again, it wasn’t anything awful,” Maddon said. “Just a little more sore than he’s normally accustomed to. So I understand that, I appreciate that, but yeah, when pitchers are feeling anything, let us know rather quickly.”
Maddon is hopeful to have Moore and Alex Cobb (concussion after being hit with a line drive) back for the next homestand, which gets under way Aug. 13 against Seattle.
“With the amount of off days and the way we’re throwing the ball right now,” Moore said, “I don’t think we should skip a beat at all.”