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Moore spins four shutout frames in rehab start

Left-hander to likely make next start on six days' rest

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- On a day where one Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher hit the disabled list, another came one step closer to returning.

Matt Moore took the mound at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium in Dunedin just hours after the Rays placed rotation-mate Jake Odorizzi on the DL with a left oblique injury. The left-hander threw four shutout innings for the Class A Advanced Charlotte Stone Crabs in his second official rehab start since April 2014 Tommy John surgery, allowing three hits and a walk while striking out four on 64 pitches (41 strikes).

"I really do feel better about the whole thing because we did get through four innings," said Moore, who pitched 2 2/3 innings in his first rehab start last Wednesday. "That many up and downs, that's new to me right now, so to not be in any kind of discomfort and to still feel the same, first through the fourth -- I'm very happy with that."

The Blue Jays made Moore work in the first two innings Tuesday night, as the left-hander needed a combined 42 pitches to complete them. He allowed an infield single in the first and a one-out walk and single in the second, but none of the three baserunners advanced past second base.

"To be able to get through all my pitches like that, I think, maybe turned the intensity up a little bit tonight," Moore said. "It was just to get out there and compete. It felt good."

Moore worked around a leadoff double in an 11-pitch third inning before throwing a perfect frame on 10 pitches in the fourth. The left-hander spent part of his time between those innings staying loose in the bullpen, as Charlotte batted around in a 24-minute, five-run top of the fourth.

The next step in the schedule will be another rehab start with the Stone Crabs, Moore said, most likely on six days' rest when the team returns to Port Charlotte to face the Lakeland Tigers on Monday. The left-hander thinks he could be in line for an outing or two with Triple-A Durham after that.

"It helps to just normalize things for me, as far as routine goes," Moore said. "I kind of have normal days like it was 14, 15 months ago, where you have days when you're supposed to feel sore and you're not supposed to feel that great, but as you get closer to that fifth day, you start to feel better."

And even with starters Alex Cobb, who was in Dunedin to watch Moore pitch on Tuesday, Drew Smyly and now Odorizzi on the disabled list, Moore said he has no plans to rush his return to the Majors.

"It's just a part of the things that a team's going to go through over 162 games," Moore said. "There's going to be injuries. We don't want to jeopardize or put anyone in harms way to try to pick up somebody else."

Josh Vitale is a contributor to
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