Matt Moore cleared to throw to hitters for first time since Tommy John surgery

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Good news for the Rays, as Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that left-hander Matt Moore is scheduled to throw to hitters Sunday for the first time since his Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery last April.

Moore is expected to have a total of three sessions against hitters before being cleared for a minor league rehab assignment. He’ll likely need around four starts to get stretched out, but the Rays are hopeful that he’ll be ready to join the rotation by as soon as mid-June.

Moore reached the majors with a ton of hype, but the southpaw has seen mixed results thus far, with a 3.53 ERA and 8.8 K/9 and 4.3 BB/9 in 61 starts and two relief appearances. Of course, he’s still just 25 years old with hopefully a lot of quality innings ahead of him.

Report: MLB owners want a 48-game season

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We’ve heard the back and forth between players and owners on money, on safety, on the size and the shape of the season. But not until now have we heard just how little baseball Major League Baseball and its owners actually want: 48 games.

That’s all they want, at least if they have to, as agreed, pay players their prorated salaries on a per-game basis. That’s the report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan, who writes this morning on the state of the current negotiations.

Passan’s article has a lot more than that. It contains a number of financial calculations about how much teams say they stand to lose per game played under any given scenario. That said, given the near total opacity when it comes to owner finances, we have no real way to evaluate the claims. The players have a bit more access to league financials, but even they are reported to be unsatisfied with what the owners have shared in that regard. So, while interesting, nothing Passan presents there is really convincing. It stakes out the positions of the parties but doesn’t really tell us much about the merits.

Which is to say that a 48-game schedule sounds like either (a) a bluff aimed at getting the players to offer financial concessions; or (b) a declaration from the owners that they’d prefer almost no baseball if it means that they have to lose any money. The whole “we’ll happily take the benefits of a good market but won’t bother if there’s a chance we might lose money” approach I’ve lambasted in this space before.

We’ll see soon which it is.