ST. PETERSBURG — LHP Matt Moore (sore left elbow) threw a simulated game Saturday before the Tampa Bay Rays’ 4-2 win over the visiting New York Yankees and pronounced himself ready to rejoin the rotation later this week against the Angels.
Manager Joe Maddon watched Moore throw and said the southpaw should be ready next week when the teams meet in Anaheim.
Said Moore: “I know what I would like it to be, kind of treat this like a game and get ready for three or four days of rest and get into a game. I feel comfortable enough with where I’m at to think a bullpen is going to get me ready for a game in four days.”
Said Maddon: “The options would be another (simulated) game. Another option would be a bullpen. Another option would be one of those two and then pitch in a minor-league game or one of those two things and pitch in a big-league game. Let’s see how he feels first.”
Both agree the way Moore feels today will factor into the next move.
Moore hasn’t pitched since July 28, so the layoff is becoming an issue. He threw 49 pitches over three innings. The Rays would like him to build his arm strength up to where he can throw at least 70 pitches in his first start back.
They might also want Moore to face something other than Riley Unroe and Nick Ciuffo, two members of the 2013 draft class who played with the Rays’ GCL team Saturday morning, then made the ride to the Tropicana Field to face Moore.
“I think the big thing is to find out (today) if he’s going to be excessively sore or not,” Maddon said. “I don’t anticipate that, but we’ll find out and then we’ll draw up the next step.”
LHP David Price was excessively sore after throwing his first sim game, which set back his return from a left triceps strain.
“There’s going to be a lot of feedback, positive or negative, based on how I show up (today),” Moore said. “If I show up and it’s standard soreness and it’s just that, I think there won’t really be too many reasons for me not to make my next start.”
Myers DHs again
OF Wil Myers returned to the lineup Saturday night after two off days and found himself serving as the designated hitter for the fifth time in his past eight starts.
Why? “Physically I’m fine,” Myers said. “I don’t have any arm problems, nothing with my legs. I’m fine.”
Maddon said the decision was based on several factors: He wants to keep Myers fresh for the playoff run and possible postseason, and he wanted LF Sean Rodriguez and RF Sam Fuld in the lineup and didn’t want either to DH.
“I know (Myers is) not tired right now, maybe, but he can be later, so take advantage of these moments,” Maddon said. “It sets up well for us. His bat’s in the lineup. That’s why I did it. There’s no underlying reason. He could have played the outfield (Saturday).”
Myers said he likes DHing and agrees with Maddon’s motives.
“I’m not used to playing in late September and definitely not in October, so it’s just one of those things where (Maddon) wants to make sure I’m rested.”
Zo and the record books
2B Ben Zobrist tied the game in the sixth inning with a two-run double. It was 23rd score-tying or go-head RBI this season.
The RBI also gave him 450 for his career, moving him past Aubry Huff (449) and into fourth place on the Rays all-time RBI list.
Zobrist also played his 76th consecutive errorless game at second base, breaking the record held by Aki Iwamura. Zobrist leads all major league second basemen with a .995 fielding percentage. The club record for fielding percentage by a second baseman is .990, set by Iwamura in 2008.
Longo chasing Peņa
3B Evan Longoria’s eighth inning home run was his 27th of the season and the 157th of his career. He’s just six home runs shy of tying Carlos Peņa’s team record of 163.
Longoria also has 22 career home runs against the Yankees, his most against any opponent. He has 21 against the Orioles.
Saturday was Longoria’s first three-hit game since June 19 at Boston.
A good debut
RHP Roberto Hernandez worked the ninth inning Friday and needed only nine pitches to retire the Yankees in order. After Saturday’s game, Maddon named Hernandez the starter for Tuesday’s series opener against the Angels. Hernandez has struggled this season as a starter, going 6-13 with a 5.00 ERA in 23 games.
“He looked confident and good. And I also believe that’s got to do something in a positive way to his confidence,” Maddon said.
RHP Jeremy Hellickson, who starts Monday in Kansas City, will be the only member of the rotation to make the trip. ... Former Bucs defensive tackle and newly-minted Hall of Famer Warren Sapp threw out the first pitch. ... RHP Victor Mateo pitched a no-hitter for Double-A Montgomery. It was his second career no-hitter … The rest of the rotation for the Angels series is RHP Chris Archer on Wednesday and LHP David Price on Thursday … The game drew 32,862 to the Trop. The Rays are 49-16 since 2008 when playing in front of home crowds of 30,000 or more … Price walked C Austin Romine with the bases-laded in the fifth inning. It was only the third time in his career he walked in a run, but the second this season.