Matt Moore partially tore his UCL back in April and missed the rest of the 2014 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. The ligament had not fully detached, Moore said afterward he suspected it was not a full tear because he never heard a "pop", but the team opted for surgery over rehab, giving the Rays lefty a fairly clear timetable for return.
This was not Moore's first encounter with an elbow issue. Back tracking to August 2013, he did a 15-day stint on the disabled list for elbow inflammation. At the time, MRIs revealed no structural damage and he was activated in September, finishing out the season with a shaky start in ALDS game 1.
Speaking with the media at the Rays Winter Development Program, Moore discussed the state of his arm, but also reflected on the recent rampant restructuring of the Rays roster. If you'd like to watch Matt Moore experience the spectrum of human emotions, you may do so here:
As the Rays gear up for spring training, Moore is adjusting to the differences in the clubhouse. Jeremy Hellickson, David Price, and Sean Rodriguez among many others, will not be reporting to Port Charlotte with him. Moving toward Opening Day, Moore will be an integral part of building a new culture. Only 25, the southpaw understands the necessity of the team's restructuring and seems confident that the moves this off season will put the Rays in contention in 2015.
That's Matt Moore's emotional health, let's move on to his physical health. Will he be able to re-take his starting role without setbacks? Moore "feels good," and convinced himself that his rehab "doesn't suck" as he's already thrown intermittently over the past three months.
Moore reports that he's been working on flat ground, capped at 110 feet, and will progress toward throwing off the mound in the coming weeks. Moore intends to throw on Friday, four times next week, and one to two times in the following week in order to re-acclimate to the typical starter's five day schedule, eyeing a June return.
If the Rays can combine Alex Cobb, Drew Smyly, and Chris Archer's strong 2014 seasons, Jake Odorizzi's unlocking potential, and Moore's successful rehab by June, they will surely have a competitive five man rotation in 2015.