Moore encouraged by first rehab start

Rays pitcher could rejoin team in early July

Moore encouraged by first rehab start

PORT CHARLOTTE -- Rays left-handed pitcher Matt Moore got through his first rehab start for Class A Advanced Charlotte on Wednesday with everything intact, but much like it his two appearances in extended spring training, the outing was not what he would have liked.

"I feel all right," Moore said. "It's definitely not bad for the first one. As a competitor, we like to go out there and have the results we all desire, but it's not the reality of things. This early in my rehab stint, I think it was a solid place to start."

In his first rehab assignment since having Tommy John surgery on April 22, 2014, Moore tossed 52 pitches in 2 1/3 innings, allowing two runs -- both unearned -- on two hits and three walks, while striking out two in the Stone Crabs' 5-4 walk-off victory over the Fort Myers Miracle.

In his three outings since surgery, Moore has thrown 134 pitches in 7 1/3 innings.

Moore's start was limited to just three innings or 50 pitches, and part of his disappointment came from not being able to complete the third inning.

"It's not as fun as pitching has been, when you want to go three [innings] but you have a pitch count and that doesn't happen," Moore said. "But there is still enough things today that happened that I can take away. … I had some small victories out there."

A few of those small victories included an increase of command on a couple of his offspeed pitches, as well as the benefit of stretching out his arm as he approaches his return to the Rays.

"It's getting there," Moore said. "Over the last three weeks, I've taken steps in the right direction with certain pitches. [We're] taking each start and hopefully we're taking more [arm] strength and endurance out of it."

Moore said that he will be evaluated within the next day or two, but, as of now, there are no plans in place for his next rehab appearance.

With the 30-day clock officially ticking -- if Moore isn't ready by the time that clock expires, Tampa Bay will have to use an option on him -- the belief is that the 25-year-old will return to the Rays in early July.

"It's not a comfortable place to be, on the DL," Moore said. "It definitely can make your mind do a lot more wondering than you used to, so having said that, I'm very excited to get back to the team, whenever that may be."

Troy Provost-Heron is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.