Add another young arm to the list of those claimed by Tommy John surgery — Tampa Bay’s Matt Moore confirmed Monday night that he’ll be going under the knife to repair his partially torn UCL.
Moore tried to throw Monday afternoon, and while the ligament isn’t completely torn, it was pretty clear he couldn’t continue pitching:
“Being stuck in the position I am right now, where it’s not exactly comfortable but it’s not exactly completely broke, it’s kind of one of those things that you know it’s going to get worse. If we had to have our best guess, that was what we would say — it’s going to get worse.”
His last start came a week ago in Kansas City, when he left after delivering a 1-2 pitch to Nori Aoki in the 5th inning. You can see Moore turn his back to the plate and grimace after releasing the pitch.
Moore was an All-Star at age 24 last season, going 17-4 with a 3.29 ERA and 143 strikeouts in 150.1 innings. He finished 9th in the AL Cy Young voting, and while he did struggle with his control, he was able to strand a high number of the runners he allowed on the bases. He also missed all of August last season with elbow soreness, which could have been a sign of future trouble.
As one of the many Rays to choose financial security in a below-market, long-term extension, he at least has a guaranteed deal even if something goes wrong in the rehab and he can’t come back. He signed a 5-year, $14 million extension prior to the 2012 season that’s paid him $1 million in each of the past three seasons, with the salary increasing to $3 million next year and $5 million in 2016. The Rays hold team options for 2017 ($7 million), 2018 ($9 million) and 2019 ($10 million). The 2017 option would have increased to $7.5 million had he pitched 600 total innings from 2014-2016, but that incentive will be virtually impossible to hit now.
Moore is just the latest injury for a Rays rotation which has been hit hard with the bug early. Jeremy Hellickson is still recovering from offseason arthroscopic surgery to remove loose bodies in his throwing elbow, and is about a month from returning. After Moore left his start last week, Alex Cobb strained his oblique against Cincinnati on Saturday and is also landing on the disabled list.
Moore is scheduled to have the surgery done by Dr. James Andrews on April 22 and expects to be out for about a full year. He’s the 13th major league pitcher to undergo the procedure this year.