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Fastball command key for Moore going forward


PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Matt Moore arrived to camp last season pegged as the next great thing.

MLB Network rated the Rays left-hander as the overall top prospect in the Major Leagues and he seemingly could do no wrong. But Moore got off to a slow start during Spring Training when he experienced mild abdominal soreness, and that prevented him from pitching until mid-March.

Moore then got off to a bad start, going 0-1 with a 4.68 in four April starts and 1-4 with a 4.83 ERA in six May starts.

"I think the injury originally held him back," manager Joe Maddon said. "After that, I think expectations were really up there. I don't think he felt very well until a certain point of last season, then he did come back nicely."

Maddon was asked what Moore can do to avoid having another slow start.

"The biggest thing, if I could express anything, it's just to continue to work the process," Maddon said. "Just go out there, do your work. Go out there and understand what you want to do attacking hitters. Throw strikes with your fastball. … If he throws strikes with his fastball, it's over. He will just take off. If he does not, then you're going to see the tap dance a little bit. But if he throws strikes with his fastball, he's going to be dominant."

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