ST. PETERSBURG -- Matt Moore's 25-pitch first inning Saturday against the Tigers was a snapshot of what happens when the talented left-hander struggles. Sure, he held the top of Detroit's order scoreless, but he labored through long, inefficient at-bats.
His last three innings told a completely different story.
Moore needed only 29 pitches to get through the rest of his scoreless four-inning outing, breezing through the afternoon and heading into the regular season on a high note. Moore allowed just one hit and one walk while striking out five on 54 pitches, 37 of them for strikes.
"That's what he's supposed to look like. That's what he can look like. The world's about confidence. As he gains confidence, you're going to see that on a consistent basis," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "Better mechanics are always rooted in the higher levels of confidence, and that was what that was all about. He looked a lot more smooth, and he looked right."
Moore agreed that he began to work at a nice, easy tempo after the first inning, and that was the difference. He dropped his spring ERA from 4.67 to 3.80 and would have liked to pitch deeper into the game, but the Rays had a set four-inning, 60-pitch limit for his final spring start.
The 23-year-old lefty will begin the season as the Rays' No. 4 starter, making his regular-season debut Friday against the Indians at Tropicana Field and leaving behind an up-and-down Spring Training that at least ended about as well as possible.
"Obviously, I'd like to pitch better, but in Spring Training, you kind of get that leeway room to work on things," Moore said. "There were definitely times where I was working on stuff that normally in a situation in a game where it matters, maybe I wouldn't."
Scott on DL with strained calf, could be out five weeks
ST. PETERSBURG -- Luke Scott was placed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday, backdated to March 24, after receiving a cortisone shot in his strained right calf.
Scott aggravated his calf Friday after his first at-bat in a Triple-A game in Port Charlotte, Fla. He stressed that the strain was "quite small" but just enough to keep him from pushing off his right leg when running out of the batter's box. While Rays manager Joe Maddon estimated that the injury will keep Scott off the field for two to three weeks, he cautioned that it could be as long as five weeks before the designated hitter returns.
"It's very disappointing to say the least," Scott said. "But I've been down this road before, and it [stinks]."
Tampa Bay will announce a corresponding roster move Sunday, calling up another player from within the organization to take Scott's spot. Maddon said he had some ideas about how to order his lineup against right-handed pitchers, like Orioles Opening Day starter Jason Hammel.
The Rays could use Kelly Johnson as the DH, put Ben Zobrist at second base and run out an outfield of Sam Fuld, Desmond Jennings and Matt Joyce. They could also choose to play Zobrist in right, Johnson at second and Joyce as the DH.
Their options are not quite as clear against left-handed pitchers, like Baltimore's No. 2 starter Wei-Yin Chen. That's why it would seem likely that the Rays will call up a right-handed hitter on the 40-man roster, perhaps Chris Gimenez or Brandon Guyer, if indeed this won't be a long-term injury.
Scott attributed his various strains and muscle tightness to drinking too much water. During Spring Training, he explained, he consumes about a gallon of alkaline water every day, flushing the electrolytes out of his system and causing him to cramp.
Scott doesn't believe the injury will become a lingering issue. He hopes the cortisone injection will help him heal more quickly and that his stint on the disabled list won't last much longer than April 8, when he's eligible to return.
"That's definitely the goal. That's being optimistic," Scott said. "That's what we hope for, come off as soon as possible or whenever I'm ready. But at the same time, just make sure that the thing is right. Going to go through some tests, make sure that it's right before I get out there."
• Evan Longoria didn't play Friday and sat out again Saturday, but Rays fans don't need to fret about his health. According to Maddon, Longoria said he was ready to start the season and wanted to be fresh for Opening Day.
"He feels like he's ready to go, and I'm just honoring that thought. These guys, I think all of our guys are actually ready," Maddon said. "If a guy tells me he's ready, I want to trust everybody here, and I'm going to listen to it. That's it. He just feels good, so we're going to let him get ready like he wants to and let him get ready for Opening Night."
• Roberto Hernandez allowed three hits and a run over three innings of work Saturday in a Triple-A game against Orioles Minor Leaguers in Sarasota, Fla. Hernandez threw 48 pitches and will make his first regular-season start Thursday against Baltimore at Tropicana Field.
• Alex Cobb, the Rays' fifth starter, was scheduled to pitch in a Minor League game Sunday in Port Charlotte, Fla., but that was changed Saturday to a simulated game Monday at Tropicana Field. Cobb's first regular-season start will come next Saturday, April 6, against the Indians.
• Outfielder Sam Fuld was slated to bat second and play right field against the Tigers, but he was scratched Saturday morning due to an upset stomach.
• First baseman/outfielder Leslie Anderson was named the winner of the Rays' 2013 Al Lopez Award, given each year to the most outstanding rookie in Spring Training. Anderson posted a .396/.420/.583 batting line this spring with one homer, 12 RBIs, four doubles, a triple and seven runs scored. Anderson is slated to begin the year with Triple-A Durham, where he hit .309 with an .805 OPS in 2012.
• Reliever Jamey Wright gave up his fourth homer of the spring Saturday, a two-run blast by Brayan Pena in the fifth inning. Wright gave up only two home runs all of last season, but Maddon wasn't worried about the uptick in spring homers, especially in the at-bat against Pena.
"The pitch that was hit out was just an experiment on his part, and the experiment failed," Maddon said. "Just working on a particular pitch, and it was blessed."
• Saturday's 3-3 tie gave the Rays a final spring record of 15-17-2. They went 1-8-2 over their final 11 games. While Maddon has often said he likes to build momentum for the regular season toward the end of Spring Training, he wasn't worried about the losing skid carrying over.
"I'd liked to have finished better regarding just winning games, getting into that winning atmosphere, attitude. I'd never deny that," Maddon said. "You never want to play a game and not win. But I'm not upset, either, because there's so many good things."