Moore one rehab start from rejoining Rays
Lefty near return from TJ surgery; club not rushing Odorizzi, Ramirez
ST. PETERSBURG -- Matt Moore threw a bullpen session on Tuesday and said he's ready to return from Tommy John surgery. However, the Rays want to him to make one additional start for Triple-A Durham on Friday.
Meanwhile, fellow starters Jake Odorizzi (left oblique strain) and Erasmo Ramirez (right groin strain) are feeling well, but their plans going forward are still undecided.
"[Moore] is itching to go," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "We're thrilled about that. It's exciting. That will probably be the biggest boost we've had all year, getting one of our pitchers back. He's worked extremely hard. We did ask him through conversations, 'Let's go make one more start in Triple-A.' And then we'll look to insert him after that start. If all goes well, he'll be with us."
Moore offered a smile when asked if he lobbied to come back sooner.
"When I came back [from Sunday's start in Durham], I told them I was ready, 'Let me know if you need me Friday or Saturday,'" Moore said. "I'm ready right now. They wanted to have a talk with me today, and I knew when there wasn't a whole lot of excitement in their eyes, when I told them I was ready, there probably wasn't going to be [a decision] in my favor.
"But that's why we have people who manage us. That's why we have that group [that runs] our organization. There's certain things they can see that I can't. We've trusted them up to this point since 2007, so there's really no reason to second-guess what they got going on. I'm just going to be here to help out whenever they call me back."
Cash praised Moore for his diligence during his rehab.
"I don't think people understand or appreciate how much work it is for any of these guys, especially what Matt's been through," Cash said. "Grinding it out every day. Watching us play and not being able to participate. He's kind of stayed the course, and it's a credit to him and [head trainer] Ron Porterfield."
Odorizzi threw a bullpen session on Monday, and because he'll need to make a couple of rehab starts, he should be back with the team after the All-Star break.
"We're not committed to putting a timetable on him yet because he's just thrown one bullpen," Cash said. "He's got to get out there and see some hitters and then we'll factor that in where he is.
"You also have to factor in that when you have a pitcher who potentially could come back on a shorter pitch count, what's the state of our bullpen? Are they able to kind of carry that load on if needed to? A lot of factors come up. But we like where Odo is at and that he felt really good in his bullpen. No issue with the side or the oblique. ... But we have to build him back up. ... We have to be smart."
As for Ramirez, he was scheduled to throw a bullpen on Tuesday, but the Rays opted to have him wait.
"He feels really good," Cash said. "But we're going to try and be as smart and cautious with this as possible -- and let him get a couple of more days' rest."
With an off-day on Thursday, the Rays can push back Ramirez's start without disturbing the rotation.
"We're able to cycle through the rotation and possibly put him somewhere in the back of it," Cash said. "And I think that's kind of the thought. So there's really no thought of him going to throw a bullpen with the risk of aggravating him again."