CINCINNATI — LHP Matt Moore rejoined the team Friday with the fate of his left elbow as much a mystery as when he left the team Wednesday to have his ulnar collateral ligament examined by James Andrews.
The two MRIs taken this week show a tear in the UCL, but it is not known when the tear occurred. Rays team doctor Koco Eaton, who volunteered his services this week in Guatemala, will look at those MRIs as well as two taken on Moore’s elbow in the past when he returns Monday to St. Petersburg.
Moore said the results of the MRIs conflict, as do the interpretations given by the doctors who reviewed the results.
“It’s been very non-precise,” manager Joe Maddon said.
Right now, the club is calling the injury a “strain.”
“Not saying something is terribly wrong before we’re for sure that’s the case,” Moore said. “That’s kind of a weird picture to look at, to be honest with you. There’s not a whole lot that I can interpret from my basic knowledge of what they look like. For them, there’s a whole lot more to look at when you have old MRIs and fresh ones, a little more to take into consideration.”
Moore is expected to throw Monday when the team reaches Baltimore for the start of a three-game series.
That Moore said the fact the pain in his elbow is not as severe as it was last summer, when he missed more than a month with a similar injury, is seen by the team as a positive sign. It could mean Moore could avoid surgery and return this year after rehabbing.
“Obviously, that would be the key to the whole thing is not missing as much time unless it’s a necessity,” Moore said.
Ramos joins rotation
LHP Cesar Ramos will replace Moore in the rotation and start Sunday in the finale of this three-game series with the Reds.
“Part of it is based on the spring training that he had and the conversation we had with him and the other pitchers when we broke spring training,” Maddon said. “We’re trying to stay true to our word.”
Ramos was the late entry in what became a three-man competition for the final spot in the rotation with RHP Jake Odorizzi and LHP Erik Bedard. Odorizzi won the job as the fifth starter, and Bedard is expected to be called up Sunday to replace Ramos’ spot in the bullpen.
Ramos pitched 152⁄3 innings in six games this spring. He allowed 16 hits, six runs and struck out 13. Ramos, who had asked for the chance to be a starter, impressed the Rays with his work in March so much that he got the nod over Bedard, a 10-year veteran.
“He’s in the rotation. Of course, it’s one of those things, we’ll see how he does. I’m anticipating good. If he goes out there and kind of nails it down, he might pitch in the rotation for a while.”
Parker visits the Rays
Dave Parker, the 1978 NL MVP and seven-time All-Star, visited the Rays before Friday’s game and received a “Friend-O-Ray” shirt from Maddon. Parker and Maddon were on the same Angels coaching staff in the late 1990s.
3B Evan Longoria ordered replicas of the T-shirt Parker made famous in 1975, the one with the words “If You Hear any noise it’s just me and the boys boppin,” for the Rays this season.
“All the guys came in one by one, meeting the ‘Godfather’ with the T-shirt on, introducing themselves. It was great. He’s one of my all-time favorites.”
OF Kevin Kiermaier was recalled from Triple-A Durham to add a left-handed bat to the bench and give Maddon another late-inning pinch-hit option since the Rays can’t use the DH in the NL park. ... Odorizzi order “Thing 1” and “Thing 2” T-shirts for himself and RHP Alex Cobb to honor the split/change-up Cobb showed Odorizzi to throw in camp. RHP Jeremy Hellickson calls the pitch “The Thing.” ... The Rays entered Friday batting .132 with one run during the first eight innings of their past four games. Of the six runs in those games, five scored in the ninth inning. ... RF Wil Myers got a haircut. “We’re not having a press conference,” he said.