3/24/2014 3:29 P.M. ET
Fewer strikeouts, more DPs a trend for Rays hitters
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Rays made better contact in 2013, striking out just 1,171 times in 5,538 at-bats as compared to 1,323 strikeouts in 5,398 at-bats the previous season.
On the flip side, Rays hitters grounded into 140 double plays in 2013 as compared to 133 in '12.
"If you think about the contact we make now as compared to the contact we made a couple of years ago, our strikeouts are down [and] our double plays are up, just because the ball is getting put in play more," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "We have to accept that part of it."
Maddon noted that the nature of the overall lineup lends itself to more contact.
"You see the ball move more and probably striking out less," said Maddon, who allowed that the Rays will "just have to be more creative and try to pick better pitches to start the runners with against certain pitchers."
Moore OK, on the mend to the relief of Rays
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- On Monday, Rays left-hander Matt Moore told reporters he was doing fine and the swelling had gone down some after he left Sunday's game against the Red Sox after being struck on the mouth by a comebacker off the bat of Xander Bogaerts.
Moore had X-rays at a medical office in Port Charlotte, Fla., on Monday afternoon. All X-rays were negative. He has mild soreness, but he completed a light workout. Head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield doesn't expect him to miss a start.
On the play Sunday that resulted in the scare, Moore not only looked for the ball but actually tracked it down and threw to first in time to retire Bogaerts and end the fourth inning. He then walked off the field under his own power, though a team trainer met him halfway and covered his bleeding lip with a towel.
Moore got four or five stitches on the inside of his lower lip, but he otherwise avoided serious injury. He received the stitches from Red Sox team doctors on site at JetBlue Park and had no signs of concussion-like symptoms, nor did he require a trip to the hospital.
The part Moore remains unsure about is whether the ball deflected off his glove hand, pitching hand or anything at all, though Rays manager Joe Maddon believes the ball skimmed off Moore's pitching hand before striking his lip.
Maddon could smile about the Rays' good fortune on Monday.
"For that to have happened the way it did," Maddon said. "... He didn't even realize it hit his hand. So, really lucky, just a real fortunate thing for us."
Maddon described Moore as "doing well" despite having a bruised and swollen lip.
"I talked with him at breakfast this morning and we spoke a little bit, but I could see smile naturally -- no pains, no headaches, none of this, none of that, so we may have escaped a pretty difficult moment there," Maddon said. "... I don't think he's going to miss hardly anything if he misses anything. ... We just have to talk to [pitching coach Jim Hickey] and [Porterfield], but I think he might be pretty close to normal."
The play had a sobering effect given the chilling scene less than a week ago in Arizona involving Reds left-hander Aroldis Chapman. In a Cactus League game on Wednesday, Chapman was struck above the left eye and immediately went to the ground before eventually being removed on a stretcher. He had surgery the following day to repair a fracture above his left eye and a metal plate was placed on the bone above his eye.
Maddon awaits word on Bedard's decision
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Erik Bedard's locker is empty inside the Rays' clubhouse at Charlotte Sports Park, but his status -- whether he will remain with the team -- remains unknown, according to Rays manager Joe Maddon.
On Saturday, the Rays announced that Jake Odorizzi had won the competition to become the team's fifth starter, which left Cesar Ramos as the team's long man and Bedard facing the prospect of going to Triple-A Durham if he wanted to stay with the organization. The veteran left-hander could opt out of his contract if he did not make the Major League roster, but apparently that decision has not yet been made.
"I don't know, because I know Andrew [Friedman] gave him time to think about it," Maddon said. "I have not had a chance to speak to Andrew. ... So I don't know. Because I know we gave him a lot of latitude with the whole thing."
Maddon noted that when they told him the news about Odorizzi winning the job, they gave Bedard "a significant amount of latitude" to make his decision.
"We want to really emphasize with him that he's still a Ray," Maddon said. "As of right now, he's a Ray -- we feel that way. We want him to stay. So I'm not worried about him missing work or anything like that. He's stretched out and ready to go. So we'll see what kind of decision he comes up with, or the interest in him by other teams is also a significant part of it."
Bedard allowed 13 earned runs in 17 innings this spring.
• Joan Jett and the Blackhearts have been added to the 2014 Summer Concert Series with the artist slated to perform following the Rays-Blue Jays game on July 12.
The 2014 Summer Concert Series also features Weezer, The O'Jays, Imagination Movers and The Wiggles. Each concert is free with the purchase of that date's game ticket. In addition to their game tickets, fans can watch the various acts from the field by purchasing field-access passes, available at raysbaseball.com/concerts.
Jett has had eight platinum and gold albums and nine Top-40 singles, including the classics "Bad Reputation," "I Love Rock 'N' Roll," "I Hate Myself For Loving You" and "Crimson and Clover." Jett sits at the head of her own independent label, Blackheart Records, and has acted in movies and television, including 1987's "Light Of Day" and in a Tony-nominated Broadway musical, "The Rocky Horror Show." She has appeared on such acclaimed television shows as "Oprah" (the last season) and "Law and Order."
• Shortstop Hak-Ju Lee will miss the next three to four weeks with a left calf strain sustained on Saturday in a Minor League game. The injury is unrelated to the injury (torn left-knee ligaments) that cost him most of the 2013 season.
• Due to Monday afternoon's rainout against the Twins, Chris Archer, who was scheduled to start, remained flexible by returning to Port Charlotte, Fla., to throw in the cage. The game will not be made up, and the Rays' pitching rotation will stay on turn, with Odorizzi starting on Tuesday and David Price following him Wednesday.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.