Rays starting pitchers have been dropping like flies all season, but left-hander Matt Moore is making steady progress in his return from Tommy John elbow surgery last April.
Moore made his second minor-league rehab start Tuesday, throwing four shutout innings at Single-A with four strikeouts and one walk. He threw 64 pitches, suggesting he could be just a couple more rehab starts from more or less being fully stretched out for a return to the Rays’ rotation.
Moore told Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune that he was “very happy” with how everything felt and his overall progress.
Prior to being shut down after just two starts last season Moore had emerged as one of the best young pitchers in baseball with a 3.53 ERA and 339 strikeouts in 347 innings through age 25.
Bobby Parnell’s minor-league rehab assignment was anything but impressive, with a 11.57 ERA and reports of diminished velocity, but his 30-day rehab clock is expiring and Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that the Mets will activate him from the disabled list.
Parnell hasn’t pitched since Opening Day of last season and his comeback from Tommy John elbow surgery has been a rocky one, but as an MLB veteran with a $3.7 million salary simply demoting him to the minors isn’t an option.
Presumably the Mets will use Parnell in the lowest-leverage role possible until he shows signs of turning things around. Prior to the injury he was the Mets’ closer and posted a 2.79 ERA in 213 innings from 2010-2013, but the first-hand reports from his rehab stint suggest things could be ugly against big-league hitters for a while.
Giants right-hander Matt Cain made his first minor-league rehab start Tuesday, throwing 3.2 innings at Double-A as he comes back from a strained flexor tendon and surgery to remove bone ships from his elbow that have sidelined him since July of last year.
Cain allowed two runs on three hits in 3.2 innings, striking out two, walking two, and throwing 55 pitches. He’s aiming to come off the disabled list in early July, presumably bumping Ryan Vogelsong from a deep Giants rotation that just saw rookie Chris Heston throw a no-hitter Tuesday night.
Cain posted 2.93 ERA in 131 starts from 2009-2012, throwing 200-plus innings every season, but he had a 4.00 ERA in 184 innings two years ago and last year was shut down after just 15 starts with a 4.18 ERA. He’s making $21 million this season and under contract for the same salary in 2016 and 2017.