Rays LHP Moore demoted after rough outing

BOSTON (AP) The Tampa Bay Rays have decided the minors would be the best place for left-hander Matt Moore to continue his return from Tommy John surgery.

Moore will go to Triple-A Durham and pitch on a regular schedule, Rays manager Kevin Cash said Sunday.

''There's a couple of factors: One, this is the first time that we've had a chance to go to a four-man rotation,'' Cash said. ''It's definitely not fair to ask Matt Moore to go to the bullpen.''

Cash said for ''procedural reasons'' the move will happen Monday.

Once a promising starter for the Rays, the 26-year-old Moore has struggled in his return from the April 2014 surgery.

''We need to get his innings on a consistent track because that factors into what he's capable of doing next year for us,'' Cash said. ''Most importantly, we need to get Matt Moore to the guy that he is. We know as an organization going forward that he's a huge part of what we're doing.''

Two years ago, Moore was 17-4 with a 3.29 ERA in 27 starts. In 2012, his first full season in the majors, Moore went 11-11 with a 3.81 ERA.

Moore (1-3) made his sixth start since returning on Saturday and gave up six runs on nine hits, walking one and striking out two in an 11-7 loss to the Boston Red Sox. He's failed to go past five innings in his comeback.

''It's not fun right now, but I still believe in myself,'' he said after the loss. ''I feel like when I was out there competing that that wasn't being timid.''

The Rays will take advantage of three off days in an eight-day stretch that begins Thursday and use the four-man rotation.

''Keeping (Matt) on his five days will help,'' Cash said.

After Saturday's game, Red Sox manager John Farrell said he understands what it's like for a pitcher coming back from Tommy John.

''First year off of Tommy John, there's going to be some peaks and valleys to arm strength and command,'' he said. ''I would venture to say that he's dealing with those given the number of starts. So that's part of the rehab and the rebuilding process that a starter goes through.''

The Rays also said that outfielder Steven Souza Jr. fractured his left hand when he was hit by Joe Kelly's fastball Saturday. Cash said he will be sidelined four to six weeks.

Mikie Mahtook was recalled from Durham on Sunday to replace Souza Jr., who was placed on the 15-day disabled list.

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