Matt Moore staying grounded despite hiccups in recovery

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Matt Moore knows caution is wise to use now.

Moore spoke Saturday at Tropicana Field and said he is “day-to-day” with his sore left elbow that has kept him on the disabled list since July 31, retroactive to July 29. The Tampa Bay Rays left-hander plans to play catch Sunday before a game against the Toronto Blue Jays, and an evaluation will follow.

“I am excited to get throwing again,” Moore said. “At the same time, I understand that time is going to be the biggest variable.”

Earlier this week, there was some thought that Moore, selected to his first All-Star Game in July, could return this weekend in a series against Toronto. But the Rays decided to be cautious after he felt discomfort and struggled with command in a 55-pitch bullpen session Wednesday.

The Rays fell short of calling Moore’s situation a setback, but they are being careful with the skilled 24-year-old. He is 14-3 with a 3.41 ERA in 21 starts this season, but he left a start against the New York Yankees on July 28 after five innings with the soreness and is learning to use patience in his absence.

He traveled with the Rays on a recent five-game road trip against the Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers and threw a 50-pitch bullpen session last Sunday that appeared to be a positive development in his recovery.

“Going to sleep and waking up — as long as we’re winning like this, I’m OK with it,” Moore said. “I’m OK with being able to take my time. I’m not saying I’m that I’m happy and I’m settling being on the DL. But having said that, I’m not going to get myself in a place mentally that I don’t want to be. I’m not going to start feeling sorry for myself. Stuff happens to guys.”

On Thursday, Tampa Bay welcomed back right-hander Alex Cobb after he missed two months while recovering from a mild concussion. Sunday will mark another step in Moore’s work to return.

“This happens,” Moore said. “To get frustrated with something that I understand a little bit really doesn’t make sense.”

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