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Rays' Matt Moore Still Not Guaranteed Starting Job In Major Leagues

Matt Moore burst onto the scene for the Tampa Bay Rays last September and had a dazzling month, helping them overtake the Boston Red Sox and win the American League wild card in 2011 -- but in 2012, he's still not guaranteed a spot in the Rays' big-league rotation, according to

"I'd rather be in this position than not be in this position," Moore said of competing for a job. "Everybody here can be, has been, and will be a major league starter. The fact of the matter is it's between a couple of us for those other spots. And that's all going to play itself out. There are 10 different things that could happen between here and the end of spring training. And either way, the squad's going to be solid. And that's what we all want."

Moore made his debut on Sept. 14 of last year; he finished the season 1-0 with a 2.89 ERA in 9.1 innings of work. He was also impressive in Game 2 of the ALDS against the Texas Rangers. In December, he signed a five-year, $14 million contract to remain with the Rays long-term.

Whether he's ready for a full major league season as a starter right away, though, remains a big question.

"There are always concerns when a guy is [as young as Moore] and getting into the grind of a major league season for the first time," Rays GM Andrew Friedman said. "It's definitely going to be something we're very aware of. Whether he starts the season in the big leagues or Triple-A has yet to be determined."