Moore opts to delay return to Rays' rotation
Left-hander makes decision following Wednesday's bullpen session
ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays pitcher Matt Moore will not return to the starting rotation on Saturday as he remains on the 15-day disabled list with a sore muscle in his left elbow.
Moore previously said he would pitch this weekend against the Blue Jays "in a perfect world" but decided, along with trainers, that his arm needs more time to heal after throwing a 55-pitch bullpen session on Wednesday. Moore will not throw again until Sunday.
"I felt good, but good isn't great and good isn't 100 percent," Moore said. "We're looking to be 100 percent. There are still a few things in doubt that we're not comfortable with. We're just going to give it a couple more days and see where we're at."
Since aggravating the muscle in a July 28 loss to the Yankees, Moore has maintained it only bothers him when throwing changeups.
The delay is not considered to be a setback in recovery.
"We're talking a very little bit, but enough to that we want to make sure it's not something I have to be shut down again for if I go back out there," Moore said. "It's kind of like picking a scab. It's great until I pick that scab once and then it turns into my arm not feeling 100 percent."
While he feels better, Moore does not have a target date for his return.
"The progress we have made is substantial. There's just a little more to go."
Cobb remains fearless about return to mound
ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays pitcher Alex Cobb's last trip to the mound at Tropicana Field could have resulted in the end of his baseball career when he took a line drive to the head off the bat of Kansas City's Eric Hosmer on June 15.
Cobb will return with no fear to the same mound on Thursday when he faces the Mariners in his first start since the injury.
"I have played this game my whole life and there have been more good memories than the one incident that happened," Cobb said.
After doctors ruled out bleeding in his brain or a skull fracture on the night of the injury, Cobb never had a doubt that he would return to the mound.
Although Cobb unrealistically wanted to make his very next scheduled start, he still beat the timeline given to him by medical professionals. The right-hander was stuck at home immediately following the injury because of balance issues related to fluid trapped in his inner ear, but he tried not to let the emotional side of the process derail his progress.
"You could have that [negative] outlook on anything," Cobb said. "If you let it bring you down and affect the way you live, it beat you. You have to beat the situation and just be happy to be back."
Cobb has conducted interviews since beginning a rehab assignment on July 23. Few of the questions posed to him have related to his pitching.
"I'm tired of this," Cobb said. "I'm tired of hearing it, seeing it, answering questions. Hopefully on Thursday, I'll get it all behind me."
Rays trying to win arms race with stout 'pen
ST. PETERSBUG -- Rays manager Joe Maddon has often said he feels his bullpen has the potential to be the best group of relief pitchers in the American League.
Yet, Tampa Bay has made four bullpen transactions this month. The club designated Kyle Farnsworth for assignment, briefly called up Josh Lueke from Triple-A before sending him back in addition to claiming former Astros reliever Wesley Wright off waivers.
The Rays also acquired Jesse Crain from the White Sox in a non-waiver Trade Deadline deal in July, but he remains on the disabled list with a right shoulder strain.
"[Our bullpen] is strong, but if you can make it stronger, you want to do that," Maddon said. "You never walk away from Jesse Crain. Wesley was available and we think he looked good last night. I liked the appearance. He's done some really good work. It gives us another option from [the left] side. There are different ideas we have with him."
Wright, making his Rays debut on Tuesday, inherited a baserunner from starter Chris Archer in the top of the sixth inning and gave up an RBI triple to Dustin Ackley before retiring the next three batters he faced, two of them via strikeouts.
"I want them to know what they're going to get every time and know that I can get outs in big situations," Wright said. "I'm trying to fit into a great bullpen. Guys have welcomed me and I'm real excited to be here."
Sam Strong is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.