ST. PETERSBURG — Rays LHP Matt Moore had successful Tommy John surgery Tuesday afternoon to repair the partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow.
The surgery was performed in Pensacola by noted orthopedist James Andrews. Moore, who is expected to miss 12 to 15 months, will do his rehab in St. Petersburg with the Rays’ training staff.
Moore is the 13th pitcher in the major leagues to have this type of surgery since the beginning of spring training. He is the first Ray to undergo the procedure since RHP Jason Isringhausen in 2009.
Oviedo joins bullpen
RHP Juan Carlos Oviedo was activated from the disabled list before Tuesday’s game, marking the first time the reliever has been on an active major-league roster since Sept. 21, 2011. Oviedo has since missed time because of visa issues and Tommy John surgery.
“To have the opportunity to contribute to the team, I feel good about,” Oviedo said through an interpreter.
Manager Joe Maddon said he will ease Oviedo into action, but he eventually expects Oviedo, who saved 92 games for the Marlins when he was known as Leo Nunez, to be a big piece as a setup man for closer Grant Balfour.
“When you get hot and start winning a lot of games in a row, that’s when you start using the back side of the bullpen, the even or ahead guys,” Maddon said. “So when you have another one like him, it can really spread the work out. It can prevent guys from becoming fatigued this early into the season. So any time you can spread the work out among guys you have a lot of confidence in, it definitely makes things better, and that makes for a more successful August and September.”
Oviedo said he got his fastball velocity up to 94 mph while pitching for Triple-A Durham the past three weeks. That’s close to where it was before he needed reconstructive elbow surgery.
“He did some great work prior to being injured,” Maddon said. “I still believe he’s going to be that guy.”
DeJesus drops, hits
Maddon dropped LF David DeJesus to No. 7 in the order in hopes of shaking him from a slump that left him hitless in his previous 24 at-bats entering Tuesday’s game. DeJesus responded with two hits and three RBIs in his first two at-bats.
“You remember how fruitful he was for us at the end of last year regarding some really big hits at very opportune moments that he came through for us. I anticipate the same out of him this year,” Maddon said. “He’s going through a very tough patch. Happens. Happens to a lot of good hitters. A lot of good hitters go oh-for for a while and then they come back and they become themselves again. Just got to stay with him. Got to keep encouraging him. Keep putting him out there and he’ll be fine.”
Welcome back, Super Sam
Former Rays OF Sam Fuld, claimed off waivers Sunday by the Twins, joined his new team Tuesday at his old stadium.
“It feels strange and great. It’s kind of a crazy day,” Fuld said before the game. “It happens to be the first day I’m with the Twins, so I’m meeting a whole new set of teammates and at the same time I’m seeing a lot of old familiar faces, so it’s really weird.”
Fuld, who joined the Rays in 2011, said it was hard learning last November that he would not be tendered.
“Very difficult,” he said. “I was disappointed when I was non-tendered but also strongly considered coming back. It was a difficult decision. I have great memories here and value the memories I made on that side over the three years.”
CF Desmond Jennings (sore groin) returned to lineup Tuesday and played center field. ... SS Hak-Ju Lee (left calf strain) was reinstated from Durham’s disabled list Tuesday. ... Maddon entered Tuesday’s game 3-for-7 on challenges. ... DeJesus and RHP Brandon Gomes will visit All Children’s Hospital today as part of “Rays Kids Spirit Day.”