When Stephen Vogt was designated for assignment on March 31st, it felt as though his time with the Rays had come to an end. As he had gone 0-25 in his time in Tampa last year, it seemed as though his quest for his first major league hit would have to continue elsewhere. Friday, the other shoe finally dropped for Vogt, as he was traded to the Oakland A’s for a player to be named later or cash considerations. Vogt was added to the A’s 40 man roster, as they designated Dan Otero for assignment.
With Jeff Niemann hitting the disabled list, Brandon Gomes was called up to take his spot in the bullpen. Gomes had an excellent spring, putting together a 2-0 record with a 1.74 ERA and 11 strikeouts, but was sent to Durham as the Rays just did not have enough room in the bullpen. However, he was immediately inserted into the action last night and picked up where he left off, firing a perfect eighth inning and recording a strikeout. His breaking pitches looked sharp with excellent movement, and he was around the plate even when his pitches were not called strikes. If he can continue to pitch the same way going forward, it may be difficult for the Rays to send him back down.
When Matt’s fastball is a strike, all of his other pitches come alive. That was the case tonight.
— Joe Maddon (@RaysJoeMaddon) April 6, 2013
Moore had an excellent start last night, putting together what may have been his best outing since a seven inning, one hit with eight strikeouts performance against the Miami Marlins on June 15th last year. He is definitely one of the pitchers that the Rays are counting on to take a step forward this year, and this first start is an encouraging sign. If he is able to continue to pitch the way he did from June on last season (10-6, 3.36 ERA, 117 strikeouts in 120.2 innings) then the Rays may answer the questions about their rotation a lot sooner than expected.