KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Matt Moore missed 31 games last year with an elbow injury. The Tampa Bay Rays are hoping the left-hander’s latest elbow issue won’t be as big a problem.
Moore left a 4-2 loss to the Kansas City Royals on Monday night in the fifth inning with a sore elbow. He grimaced after throwing a changeup to Nori Aoki, which prompted a mound visit from manager Joe Maddon and athletic trainer Ron Porterfield.
“Ron’s take on it was that it was something less than last year,” Maddon said. “But we still have to get it checked out.”
Moore said he would have a MRI on Tuesday. X-rays taken Monday night showed no damage.
“Maybe it’s a hyperextension, it’s kind of like a bruise,” Moore said. “It’s hard to find that uncomfortable feeling.”
Moore won 17 games last season, but went on the disabled list last July 31 with a sore elbow and did not return until Sept. 3. He said in spring training the injury was in “back of his mind.”
“Any injury is like that,” Moore said. “I hadn’t felt it but I was being careful in spring training and we weren’t facing live hitters yet. It continued to be in the back of my mind until we started facing live hitters. That’s when I completely forgot about it until right now.”
He said he initially felt something in the elbow when facing Alcides Escobar, the batter before Aoki.
“It really came out of nowhere,” Moore said. “There was no particular pain. I felt it when I was pitching to Escobar, on a changeup, and then I threw two more changeups to Aoki and I felt it. I actually threw a curveball (to Aoki) to see if I would feel it then, too, but I didn’t. It may have something to do with changeups in that situation.”
Moore said he considered calling Maddon to the mound in Escobar’s at-bat and then tried to talk him into staying in the game with a 2-2 count on Aoki. Maddon did not even allow Moore to throw a warm up pitch before bringing in Cesar Ramos.
Moore said he hopes he can avoid a trip to the disabled list.
“I haven’t thought about that,” Moore said. “All I can think about is 12 hours from now, tomorrow and the MRI. I can’t really speculate. If I had to guess, structurally things are fine.”
Jason Vargas took a shutout into the ninth inning for the Royals, and Escobar hit a three-run double.