OAKLAND, Calif. — Matt Moore physically joined the Rays on Friday afternoon, having flown from Atlanta to Oakland after making a rehab start with Triple-A Durham on Thursday night at Gwinnett. Now, the question remains: When does Moore officially rejoin the team? That could be Tuesday or Wednesday, when the road trip continues against the Angels in Anaheim. Rays manager Joe Maddon said he will announce today the rotation for the Angels series, as well as name Sunday’s starter for the finale of this three-game series with the A’s.
Whichever night Moore takes the mound, he will do so with the peace of mind knowing the soreness in his left elbow that sidelined him since July 28 is no longer an issue. Moore threw 74 pitches in four innings Thursday. “(The pain is) totally gone, as far as I can tell,” Moore said. “The last eight, nine days have been really good. That’s where most of the healing has taken place. The first weeks, there wasn’t a whole lot of progression. It’s been about nine days since I’ve been throwing now with this kind of feeling where I’m not thinking about it, I’m just going out there after it.” Moore allowed four runs on eight hits and walked two batters. Some of that could be attributed to the rust from not pitching in a game for more than five weeks. “I feel like I was making some pitches, each at-bat was different,” Moore said. “I’d get ahead of one guy and then I’d fall behind this guy, so there was definitely some times when I was out there trying to feel what an 0-2 curveball is going to feel like and I’d leave it up. … Most of it was trying to find the intensity I want to pitch with in certain counts.” The change-up is what caused the soreness in Moore’s elbow. Moore often uses that pitch to help him find his fastball when he loses command of that pitch. He first felt soreness only when throwing his change-up. But after trying to throw through that pain, the pain would be present when he tried to throw his other pitches. He said he was able to throw the change-up Thursday without issue. “I threw a lot of change-ups, and if I threw a bad one I would just shake back to it and throw another one,” Moore said. “That was more so for me, as opposed to what was going on in the game. I think for the most part (I was) trying to get into those counts where I could throw those pitches.” Moore will face a 90-pitch limit when he returns. Maddon said the mystery about his return is not due to his health but with the Rays’ yet-to-be decided pitching rotation. “We just have to decide how we want to work that out,” Maddon said. Brandon Gomes, who was recalled Friday and made the cross-county trip with Moore, said Moore looked good Thursday against Gwinnett. “I thought his stuff was very good,” Gomes said. “Fastball had good zip on it. Everything was good just your normal stuff from Matt not having pitched in a month-and-a-half. I was impressed with his overall stuff, for sure.” firstname.lastname@example.org (813) 259-7227 Twitter: @RMooneyTBO