Command Problems Force Moore Out Again

Lefty Matt Moore is still getting adjusted to the major leagues. The 22-year-old highly touted rookie made his third start of the season on Friday, and for the third time came away without a win, as the Rays lost to the Twins 5-4.

INSIDE PITCH

Command problems force Moore out again

Lefty Matt Moore is still getting adjusted to the major leagues.

The 22-year-old highly touted rookie made his third start of the season on Friday, and for the third time came away without a win, as the Rays lost to the Twins 5-4.

Moore's biggest issue has been a lack of command, leading to unusually high pitch counts that have prevented him from getting deeper into games than the seventh.

It's been a problem for several Rays starters -- actually all but veteran RHP James Shields -- with manager Joe Maddon noting several times over the last week that they are "tap-dancing" around the plate and not being aggressive enough in their approach.

Moore, so impressive in his late-season, and postseason, stint last year, has been guilty, as evidenced by his high pitch counts. In his season debut at Detroit, he threw 106 over 6 2/3 innings, then at Boston threw 109 in 6 1/3 and Friday against the Twins threw 106 over 6 1/3.

There is also the question if Moore is tipping his pitches, an issue that was raised during the April 15 start in Boston. Moore said he didn't think he was, and was not concerned.

NOTES, QUOTES

Upton returns to lineup

--CF B.J. Upton rejoined the Rays lineup on Friday, returning to action more than a month after a spring training outfield collision with Desmond Jennings. "This is where I wanted to be the whole time," Upton said. "Unfortunately, I had to do what I had to do to get back. But now that's all behind me. I'm ready to chip in any way I can to help this team win."

--3B Evan Longoria will remain in the team record books for making three errors in Tuesday's game after MLB denied an appeal of the scoring decision, which would have given Toronto's J.P, Arencibia a hit and taken away one of Longoria's errors.

--1B/OF Stephen Vogt was optioned to Triple-A Durham after an unsuccessful first stint in the majors, going 0-for-13, the most at-bats in team history to start a career without a hit. Vogt said he learned much and was confident he would do better when he got his next opportunity.

--1B/OF Brandon Allen, claimed off waivers from the A's Thursday, is expected to join the Rays on Saturday, with SS Reid Brignac sent down to Triple-A. The Rays expect Allen to provide power in part-time duty and as a pinch-hitter.

--RHP James Shields starts on Saturday against the Twins, hoping to continue what he's done against the Tigers and Red Sox. "I think the last two times, I've really been exactly where I want to be, getting ahead of hitters, I'm throwing a lot of strikes and being aggressive," he said.

BY THE NUMBERS: 6 -- Times Fernando Rodney has gotten the final out for the Rays in their first seven wins.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I looked at the replay and thought I did, but it didn't turn out that way. Here we are 35 days later and it's my Opening Day and they're 14 games deep." -- CF B.J. Upton, on originally saying he held his own in the March 14 outfield collision with teammate Desmond Jennings.


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