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Moore continues to make steady progress

Lefty throws from rubber after tossing from halfway up mound last week

ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays left-hander Matt Moore threw 15 pitches off the mound on Friday morning as he continued his rehabilitation from Tommy John surgery.

Moore threw to a catcher crouched just in front of the plate in the bullpen at Tropicana Field, and he reported that he felt good afterward. Last week, he threw two bullpen sessions from halfway up the mound. This week, Moore was back atop the rubber for the first time since undergoing season-ending surgery on April 22.

It was another small milestone for Moore, who has yet to experience any setbacks in his recovery from a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left arm.

"I think the biggest [positive] sign is that every day, we've been meeting our goals and still feeling strong at the end of the day," Moore said.

Rays manager Kevin Cash, also at The Trop for Friday's open workout, said he's been impressed by Moore's commitment to his rehab and the fact that the 25-year-old's "fluid arm action" hasn't changed a bit.

Moore said Friday that he didn't want to set a target date for his return, but he told reporters earlier this offseason he hoped to be back in a game with Tampa Bay in June.

Moore expects to toss two bullpen sessions a week until he's ready to pitch in a game. Next week, he'll probably throw 15 pitches to a catcher positioned behind the plate, and he'll continue to do that for a week or two. Once Moore is comfortable throwing bullpen sessions from that distance, he can think about gradually ramping up his pitch count.

That's just a small window into the day-to-day, one-step-at-a-time grind of coming back from such a major surgery. Given Moore's age, competitiveness and early success -- he was an All-Star while going 17-4 with a 3.29 ERA in 2013 -- it's easy to assume the tedious process has gnawed away at him.

But that hasn't been the case for Moore, at least not since he came to terms in April with the reality of his long road back to full strength.

"I've had no frustration, no. Not with anything that has to do with going out here," Moore said, smiling. "I think the frustrating part was the initial getting on board with: 'This is what the next year is going to be like.'

"For the most part, I've tried to embrace the process to where it's not a frustrating thing. I understand this has to happen, and I understand I have a choice in what attitude I bring to the yard every day."

Adam Berry is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry.
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