Success means Moore following TJ surgery

Lefty appreciates strong start to season two years removed from procedure

Success means Moore following TJ surgery

ST PETERSBURG -- The Rays were hoping for Moore in 2016, and they're getting it.

Starter Matt Moore turned in one of the most efficient outings of his career Sunday afternoon in the Rays' 3-2 win over the White Sox. He allowed two runs on five hits over 6 1/3 innings while striking out 10 for his fifth career double-digit strikeout game. The game marked his highest strikeout total without allowing a walk.

"Matt Moore was outstanding to say the least," Rays manager Kevin Cash said.

Cash noted that he and Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey noticed Moore had his full arsenal on display against the White Sox. His fastball and curveball were dancing around the strike zone, and he was effective when throwing his change-up when behind in the count.

"I do feel strong right now, which is something, the last 24 months, has not been a word I've been using a whole lot," Moore said, referring to his comeback from the Tommy John surgery he underwent in April 2014. "It does feel good, and I do appreciate what it took to get here."

Moore had mixed results in his return from the surgery last year. He debuted July 2 and was largely ineffective, and he spent all of August finetuning in the Minors. He returned in early September and looked impressive, surrendering only four earned runs in his last 26 2/3 innings of work.

"I feel like I've really tried to get ahead early," Moore said of his approach to pitching this season. "In three pitches or less, moreso trying to pound the zone early and get [batters] in that mode of swinging. Just trying to get ahead early and stay aggressive."

The improvement is great news for the Rays, and the team is encouraged by Moore's quick start.

"Very promising," Cash said. "We saw throughout the course of Spring Training, not [that] there's ever a doubt in Spring Training, but it's not the season yet. You value what takes place in the season so much more."

It's the kind of start Moore was hoping for.

"To get my body a full offseason, let my arm and my mind clear up, it feels great right now," Moore said.

Mike Nabors is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.