BALTIMORE — Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon is having to piece together a starting rotation as three starters are down with injuries.
The biggest loss is left-hander Matt Moore, who has decided to undergo Tommy John surgery on his injured left elbow April 22, the Tampa Bay Times reported Monday.
Moore made the decision after Monday afternoon’s throwing session, saying the discomfort he felt made it clear he could not pitch with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament.
“What was coming out, it’s a shame to be have to be shut down right now but it just wasn’t comfortable,” said Moore, who finishes 2014 with an 0-2 record and 2.70 ERA in 10 innings. “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 where you know it’s going to get worse.”
Adding to the Rays’ pitching woes, an MRI over the weekend revealed that Alex Cobb could miss up to six weeks with a strained oblique. And righty Jeremy Hellickson is still recovering from elbow surgery and has yet to make a start this season.
To compound the problems, righty Jake Odorizzi, who was supposed to start Tuesday’s game against the Orioles, came down with an illness prior to Monday’s 7-1 loss to Baltimore. The Rays sent Odorizzi back to the hotel to get rest, but he is still expected to play.
Maddon is ready to embrace the challenge.
“Sometimes adversity brings out the best in all of us,” Maddon said. “We’ll fight our way through this also. I don’t get despondent. From our perspective, it’s about being consistent. These are our 25 guys and I have a lot of confidence in them. Maybe it’s about manipulating it a little bit differently. We feel good about our guys. I know we’re going to start hitting. We might have to win that 7-6 game or that 5-4 or 8-7 game now, which we have not been doing to this point. It’s a one-run game in a different form.”
For the time, Maddon could go with Chris Archer, Odorizzi, David Price, Cesar Ramos and Erik Bedard in the starting rotation. If one of these pitchers struggles, the team could look for help with one of its minor league affiliates.
Maddon, however, has dealt with the injury bug before, and is ready to move forward.
“I believe we’re fine, I believe we’ll be able to work through,” said Maddon. “We’ve done it in the past. But, of course, this is when you create conjecture. It’s wonderful. It’s a big part of our game. From my perspective, it’s about the 25 guys that are here today. We have to win this game somehow.”