BALTIMORE -- The Rays have six starters and five spots in the rotation, so for the time being Matt Moore will rejoin the group and Nathan Karns will be relegated to bullpen duty.
With Moore's return from a stint at Triple-A Durham, the surplus of starters coupled with the fact the Rays will be playing in New York against the Yankees over the weekend, prompted the decision that was made. Moore's start will come on Saturday.
"Obviously, a very difficult decision," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "The first thing that needs to be said is we all know inside this clubhouse and this organization that we are not in this spot if it wasn't for what Nathan Karns has provided. That being said, Matt Moore is also a huge part of this organization now and going forward.
"And he went down, he did what was needed, what was asked, and we decided, given the matchup coming up against the Yankees, all the lefties, all the switch-hitters, the short porch in right. Figured we'd take a crack at it with a left-handed pitcher."
Moore returned to the Rays from Tommy John surgery on July 2 to make the first of six starts in which he went 1-3 with an 8.78 ERA. That prompted the Rays to send him to Durham, where he went 2-1 with a 3.30 ERA in five starts. Included in those results was his Aug. 22 start against Columbus when he struck out 16 in six innings.
"I feel good about coming back up here," Moore said. "Obviously, the whole time I was down I was getting anxious about what this month would hold and how I would fit into it. So to be able to kind of hop into things and see what I got going into that big series feels good to kind of have the trust of everybody that I can handle myself out there."
Jake Odorizzi will start the opening game in New York on Friday, and will be followed by Moore and Chris Archer. After that, no decisions have been made about how the rotation will stack up in the three-game series at Detroit that begins Monday.
"Going forward we don't have anything defined, as we stated to Nate Karns and Matt both," Cash said. "We're going to kind of manage this and match up as we go. Matt's pitching on Saturday and we're going to kind of re-visit this after that."
Cash said they will be sensitive to how Karns will be used out of the bullpen given that all of his preparation this year has been as a starter. So he said he doesn't expect to bring him in during the middle of an inning. Cash also said that Karns could still be used as a starter during the remaining part of the schedule.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. Listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.