03/14/12 4:40 PM ET
Lee among latest round of roster cuts
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com
Bryan Augenstein, Hak-Ju Lee and Matt Torra were reassigned to Minor League camp.
Meanwhile, Alex Colome, Wilking Rodriguez and Albert Suarez were told they would be optioned to Minor League camp on Thursday.
Moore not letting hype go to his head
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Matt Moore came into camp with high expectations. Tuesday's lights-out performance by the left-hander against the Orioles should only serve to further stoke the fires of expectations.
After being slowed by an abdominal strain in the early going of Spring Training, the highly touted pitcher -- ranked by MLB.com as the No. 1 prospect in baseball -- faced six Orioles hitters in 1 2/3 innings, allowing no runs and no hits while striking out three and walking one.
Moore appears calm on the mound and equally calm around the media. On Wednesday, he was asked if he is prepared to handle all the hype.
"At this point in my life, I understand that hype is going to be there when people are expecting things out of you," Moore said. "Nobody is expecting me to do things that I cannot do, which is locate my fastball, locate my changeup and throw good breaking balls. Right now, those are things I have control of. So if I focus on those, I'm doing what I'm supposed to do. And the hype and all that stuff is going to take care of itself whether I do what everybody says is going to happen or whether it goes the opposite way."
Moore noted that if he allowed himself to think about the hype it would take away from what he's trying to concentrate on and accomplish.
"So [the hype is] going to come into my ears but not stay inside my head too long," Moore said.
Moore admitted that being the guy who is hyped is somewhat of a surreal experience, but not necessarily one he can't handle.
"The last four years I've been planning on being in this locker room doing these things," Moore said. "At some point, the way that my progression went through the system was a good steady progression that led up to this. It wasn't, 'Oh, you're drafted, let's send you straight to low A, Double-A to the big leagues,' because that's too fast. At least I think it would have been too fast for me being drafted at 17.
"So I think that those years kind of helped me see how it goes, you know, 'Could you buy into the hype, could you not buy into the hype?' So there are some decisions that got made that I didn't have any control over but wound up being the best for me."
Manager Joe Maddon observed that Moore has been "pretty calm" about the whole thing.
"I mean, he just goes about his business every day," Maddon said. "He's got a lot of confidence in himself and he knows we have a lot of confidence in him. He's kind of grown into this, because he didn't come into professional baseball with all the fanfare. He's pretty much grown into this pitcher he is today. We all like the way he handles himself. He's very confident."
Maddon expressed his desire for Moore to continue to be more process oriented than results oriented.
"And if he does that, he's going to be just fine and pitch for many years," Maddon said. "Again, people are going to go a little bit over the top because of what he did last year, and they're going to expect a lot of him this year. I think he's going to be very good this year. But from my perspective, I want him to go about his business properly on a daily basis, and if there are some pitfalls that occur -- because he is 22. He's going to make some mistakes."
Howell progressing, not worried about results
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- J.P. Howell's numbers don't look too good at this point of Spring Training, but the southpaw is pleased with how camp has gone.
"I guess I had two good outings and one bad outing, so I'm doing OK in my book," Howell said. "[I] just want to get better each time out."
Howell returned to action last season after sitting out 2010 following left shoulder surgery. If he can regain his old form, this year's bullpen should receive a major boost.
"It's one of those things where I want to see my pitches do certain things and hitters react a certain way," said Howell, noting that in his bad outing he tried to strike everyone out, resulting in three strikeouts, but also a walk and three hits.
Specifically, Howell is striving to give all of his pitches the same look when they leave his hand.
"Fastball, curveball, changeup, I want all of them to look the same and have the hitters look confused," Howell said. "Especially at this point, because their timing's off right now, so it should be a little bit easier for me to push them around and get them off balance. And I've been able to do that at this point. Those are positives for me.
"I'm loving my recovery, I'm loving my pitches and my mentality is getting a lot better, too. I'm calming down out there. The first couple of games you get too amped up."
Catcher Robinson Chirinos is day-to-day after suffering a mild concussion as a result of a pitch hitting him in the mask. Given the close competition for the backup catcher's spot, this has to be perceived as a blow to Chirinos' chances of winning the job.
Jeff Keppinger has brought a veteran presence to the Rays' clubhouse.
"At the plate, he works great at-bats," manager Joe Maddon said. "I've been watching him. ... I've got a great appreciation for that. Defensively, he's comfortable. He's a very calm baseball player. I like that, and I think it bodes well. [It] permits you to do well all year. You don't get spent emotionally, and those are the kinds of things that permit a guy to play every day. He definitely has all of that."
Matt Bush has managed to impress Maddon this spring. Maddon noted that the hard-throwing right-hander is "definitely capable right now."
"It's what he's thinking and how he feels about it, and then with that comes the consistency," Maddon said. "He's not far off I don't think. He's in control of that pretty much, because physically, [he has] Major League stuff, absolutely, no question. Emotionally, he seems to be there, too. Now he just has to go out and prove that."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.