ST. PETERSBURG — On the disabled list since July 31, LHP Matt Moore took a positive step Sunday in recovering from soreness in his left elbow.
Moore played catch in right field with team trainer Ron Porterfield for about 15 minutes Sunday morning, making 55 throws from 75 feet without feeling any discomfort.
It marked the first time Moore had thrown in three days after feeling some discomfort while throwing his change-up, and he said Sunday everything felt good when he was finished.
“It went really, really well,” Moore said. “It went exactly like we wanted it to. We played some easy catch and worked our way into a little bit of arm speed and it felt good.”
While Moore was not pitching off a mound, he did make some simulated throws as if he was on the mound, utilizing his wind up as well as making some throws from the stretch.
He did it all without any discomfort, although all 55 throws were straight four-seam grips, Moore said.
The next step in the process is for Moore to do more light tossing today. Sunday’s session was an encouraging sign for Moore.
“It feels good after (taking) three days off,” Moore said. “It feels weird not to call it a setback, but at the same time we were at that place where we were on our way back, then took a couple of days off. So it feels good to have picked up where we left off four days ago.”
Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said if Moore still feels no discomfort after throwing today, the next step is to throw off the mound, which would come this week.
Archer on target
RHP Chris Archer looked dominant once again Sunday, shaking off a couple of subpar performances after being named the pitcher of the month for July, when he was nearly unhittable.
The 24-year-old looked that way through most of Sunday’s start, allowing one hit through six innings, facing just one over the minimum heading into the top of the seventh while protecting a one-run lead. Archer wound up with a no-decision after allowing a two-out, solo home run to Edwin Encarnacion in the top of the seventh, and departed with the game tied after throwing 106 pitches and not allowing a base on balls.
“Great slider, better command of his fastball, really an alive fastball,” Maddon said. “He continues to pitch with great poise and focus.”
Archer said the difference for him compared to his previous two starts was where he was locating his fastball.
“Just the two to three inches I’ve been missing the past couple of games, I wasn’t missing,” he said. “It just comes down to practice.
“The confidence that the coaches and the management and team has in me — just continue to do my thing and work hard and the results will come.”
Lean on me
Rays’ RHP Alex Cobb and Toronto LHP J.A. Happ will forever be linked after the opposing pitchers each took a line drive to the head while pitching off the mound at Tropicana Field at different times this season.
Both recovered to return to a major league mound this season — Cobb picked up the victory Wednesday against Seattle in his first game back in two months — sharing a similar story on the road to recovery. Before Sunday’s game the pair spent a few moments together to discuss their experiences as the two now share a unique bond.
“It’s nice to see that we are both back at it and both back out here,” Happ said. “We touched base a couple of weeks ago and it’s nice to see that things are back to normal.”
Said Cobb, “Not too many people know what you have gone through on a personal level, so to know his battles ... it’s nice to see him back.”
Toronto RHP Todd Redmond, a graduate of Northeast High School, made his first career start at Tropicana Field, allowing one run and six hits in six-plus innings.
“It was very satisfying,” Redmond said. “With all of my friends and family there, I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
Redmond is the fourth St. Petersburg native to pitch at Tropicana Field, third as an opposing pitcher, joining Jesse Litsch, Boof Bonser and Doug Waechter.
OF Desmond Jennings was 1-for-3 with a run scored in a rehab start for Single-A Port Charlotte on Sunday night.
There has been no official announcement from the Rays, but Jennings is expected to be activated from the 15-day disabled list before tonight’s game.
Jennings has not played since Aug. 3 because of a fractured middle finger on his left hand. The center fielder is hitting .258 with 11 home runs, 40 RBIs and 17 stolen bases in 104 games this season.
Need to know
The Rays improved to 8-0-1 in their last nine home series. The last series loss at Tropicana Field came June 13-16 against the Royals. ... 3B Evan Longoria belted his 24th home run of the season, an opposite field solo shot in the first inning, and slapped a double to left field in the fourth, giving him 10 extra-base hits in the past 11 games. Longoria had seven extra-base hits in his previous 33 games from June 23-Aug. 4. ... The Rays did not issue a walk for the 16th time this season, setting a club record. The previous record was 15, established in 2009 and 2012. ... IF Ryan Roberts cleared waivers Sunday and accepted his assignment to Triple-A Durham, the Rays announced.