Extra offseason work paying off for Moore

Extra offseason work paying off for Moore

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Matt Moore told reporters when camp opened that he worked out with Pro Advantage Training in Arizona for three months this offseason in hopes of getting past any physical issues in 2014.

Moore did not work out in Arizona prior to the 2013 season, which was a change after doing so prior to the 2010, '11, and '12 campaigns.

In addition to avoiding injuries, Moore said he hoped to get his body more behind his pitches, rather than just his arm, and perhaps even find a few miles per hour for his fastball.

On Sunday, after throwing a live batting practice, Moore noted that he felt noticeably better than he did a year ago. Rays manager Joe Maddon couldn't help but notice Moore's work.

"He worked out of the windup and out of the stretch, threw some really good curveballs, had a lot of hop on the ball," Maddon said. "I'd say for the first day I saw him pitch to live hitters his velocity looked pretty impressive. So I don't know exactly what it was, but there was a lot of jump on the ball and some really good break."

Moore said it was too early to tell if his offseason work had paid off with added heat to his fastball.

"I haven't had a radar gun, but the ball just feels really good right now, the timing of things coming out," Moore said. "Feels like the ball's carrying to the target a little more than me trying to drive it. Those two mindsets are a little bit different. But we'll see when things come out."

He observed that when he is throwing the ball well, he's "not reaching back for more."

"I don't need to throw the ball any harder, because it's already getting there fast enough," Moore said. "Now, just make sure that I'm kind of painting that stroke. Make sure that I'm staying in my lane. Make sure that my body is staying back. And usually if the ball is coming out good and my arm feels quick, if that's a good word for it, if it feels like that, usually my mind isn't thinking, like, 'Get down that hill, get down that hill.' Usually I have a little more clarity on the mound, probably a slower heart rate, whatever you want to call it."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.