Matt Moore set to face live hitters for the first time since his Tommy John elbow surgery

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From Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune …

Matt Moore said he will have an extra skip in his step today when he heads to Tropicana Field, and for good reason. He is pitching his first round of live batting practice since his Tommy John surgery April 22, 2014.

Moore is scheduled throw around 20 pitches to his Tampa Bay teammates before their series finale on Sunday afternoon against the Orioles. He’ll continue making simulated appearances for the next several weeks and then embark on what will likely be a lengthy minor league rehab assignment. If he can avoid setbacks, the 25-year-old lefty should become an option for the Rays’ rotation near late June or early July.

“It kind of feels like, I don’t want to say the worst is behind us, but I think a lot of those fears of re-injuring something (are gone),” Moore told Mooney on Saturday. “I feel pretty confident right now.”

Moore owns a 3.53 ERA and 339 strikeouts in 347 career major league innings.

MLBPA proposes 114-game season, playoff expansion to MLB

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ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that the Major League Baseball Players Association has submitted a proposal to the league concerning the 2020 season. The proposal includes a 114-game season with an end date on October 31, playoff expansion for two years, the right for players to opt out of the season, and a potential deferral of 2020 salaries if the postseason were to be canceled.

Passan clarifies that among the players who choose to opt out, only those that are considered “high risk” would still receive their salaries. The others would simply receive service time. The union also proposed that the players receive a non-refundable $100 million sum advance during what would essentially be Spring Training 2.

If the regular season were to begin in early July, as has often been mentioned as the target, that would give the league four months to cram in 114 games. There would have to be occasional double-headers, or the players would have to be okay with few off-days. Nothing has been mentioned about division realignment or a geographically-oriented schedule, but those could potentially ease some of the burden.

Last week, the owners made their proposal to the union, suggesting a “sliding scale” salary structure. The union did not like that suggestion. Players were very vocal about it, including on social media as Max Scherzer — one of eight players on the union’s executive subcommittee — made a public statement. The owners will soon respond to the union’s proposal. They almost certainly won’t be happy with many of the details, but the two sides can perhaps find a starting point and bridge the gap. As the calendar turns to June, time is running out for the two sides to hammer out an agreement on what a 2020 season will look like.