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Rays Notes: Encouraging first bullpen session for Moore

Published:   |   Updated: February 24, 2014 at 06:46 AM

PORT CHARLOTTE - If LHP Matt Moore's work during his first live bullpen session is any indication, the work he put in during the offseason to improve his conditioning and restore the few miles-per-hour to his fastball that he lost in 2013 seemed to have paid off.

Both Moore and Rays manager Joe Maddon noticed a difference in the way Moore pitched Sunday.

"Thinking back to where I was last year on the mound in that first live batting practice, I was a lot more encouraged walking off the hill (Sunday)," Moore said. "With the hitters' feedback, where the ball was winding up and where my effort level was, I think those things are all ahead of where we were this time 12 months ago."

Moore returned to Tempe, Ariz., during the offseason and worked out at Pro Advantage Training with trainer Keith Wilson. Moore trained with Wilson before the 2010, '11 and '12 seasons. He did not workout there before 2013. Moore said his conditioning coming into last spring training wasn't where he felt it was during the previous three years.

Maddon said he saw more life Sunday on Moore's pitches.

"Definitely a lot of hop on the ball," Maddon said. "I'd say for the first day I saw him pitch to live hitters, his velocity looked pretty impressive. I don't know exactly what it was, but there was a lot of jump on the ball and some pretty good break."

Lee impresses Maddon

SS Hak-Ju Lee, who tore ligaments in his left knee April 20 while playing for Triple-A Durham and missed the rest of the 2013 season, has not displayed any ill effects of the injury during the first week of camp, according to Maddon.

Lee participated Saturday in sliding drills, sliding on both legs.

"From a medical perspective, there's no concern," Maddon said.

Maddon said Lee has looked good in both fielding and hitting drills.

"He's bigger and stronger, there's no question. He's starting to mature physically," Maddon said. "It's exciting. We thought a lot about him, but I'm starting to see what everybody has talked about. It's starting to look really good."

Archer pleased with outing

RHP Chris Archer missed his spot several times Sunday with his fastball while throwing live BP, which he said was a good thing, because he was able to immediately make the adjustments in his delivery to correct the problem.

"I think the goal is, the quicker you can make the adjustment, the more successful you'll be," Archer said.

Archer's goal this season is to pitch deeper into games, and one way he can do that is to cut down on his pitches per inning, which was 16.3 last season. One way to lower that number is to correct the flaws in his delivery when they crop up so he can remain in the strike zone.

"Being able to make adjustments quicker, that's where my main focus is," Archer said. "Even when I'm playing catch, when I'm in my bullpens, all that translates into the game. ... Why did I miss? If you know why you missed you can change it."

Noteworthy

2B Ben Zobrist (sore lower back) ran Sunday. He said he hopes to do some drills today that allow him to twist and join his teammates Tuesday on the field. ... Rays executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman will appear at 9:45 a.m. today on MLB Network's "Hot Stove" show. ... Scheduled to throw live BP today are LHP David Price, RHP Alex Cobb, RHP Grant Balfour, LHP Jake McGee and RHP Heath Bell. ... Maddon said he discussed the idea with pitching coach Jim Hickey of playing an intrasquad game/controlled scrimmage Wednesday, but they decided against it.

Roger Mooney

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