Matt Moore scheduled for bullpen session today

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The Rays have been extra careful with prized left-hander Matt Moore this week as he dealt with a lower abdominal strain, but he is finally close to getting back on a mound.

Moore has played catch each of the last three days without incident and Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that he’s scheduled to throw a bullpen session today.

Rays head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield told Bill Chastian of MLB.com that Moore will likely have two bullpen sessions before throwing live batting practice. Rays manager Joe Maddon hasn’t ruled out the possibility of him pitching in a game next week.

Moore had a 2.89 ERA and 15/3 K/BB ratio over 9 1/3 innings down the stretch with the Rays last season and allowed one run over 10 innings against the Rangers during the ALDS. The 22-year-old signed an extension with the Rays in December, so he is virtually assured of a spot in the starting rotation if healthy now that his service time is no longer an issue. Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman recently confirmed that Moore will not be subject to an innings limit for his rookie season.

Report: MLB likely to unilaterally implement pace of play changes

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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that talks between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players’ Association concerning pace of play changes have stalled, which makes it more likely that commissioner Rob Manfred unilaterally implements the changes he seeks. Those changes include a pitch clock and a restriction on catcher mound visits.

Manfred said, “My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players. But if we can’t get an agreement, we are going to have rule changes in 2018, one way or the other.”

The players have made several suggestions aimed at reducing the length of games, such as amending replay review rules, strictly monitoring down time between innings, and bringing back bullpen carts.

It is believed that MLB is proposing a pitch clock of 20 seconds. If a pitcher takes too long between pitches, he will have a ball added to the count. If the hitter takes too long, then he will have a strike added to the count.