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Moore Shines As Rays Beat “Future Rays” in Exhibition Finale

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Matt Moore did his part to help the Tampa Bay Rays get ready for an opening day test against CC Sabathia and the New York Yankees.

The rookie left-hander, who made an impressive major league debut and even won a playoff start before setting foot in a big league camp for the first time this spring, pitched seven solid innings for a team with mostly low-level minor league prospects that lost to the Rays 2-1 on Wednesday.

Moore allowed two runs and seven hits and enters the season as the fourth starter in one of baseball’s top rotations. The 22-year-old won his first big league start at Yankee Stadium last September and went to become just the fifth rookie starter to win his team’s first game of the postseason, when he beat Texas in the ALDS.

The Rays begin the season Friday at home against the Yankees. Moore figured Wednesday was good preparation for a lineup that’ll face Sabathia in the opener at Tropicana Field.

“I think it’s good for everybody. We’re going to see CC in a couple of days and, being left-handed, it’s good for them to see the ball come out of that side,” said Moore, who yielded RBI singles to Evan Longoria and Ben Zobrist. “For me, I needed to get up and down seven times, so I at least did well enough to get that done.”

The Rays will open the season without outfielders B.J. Upton (lower back soreness) and Sam Fuld (right wrist surgery), who were placed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday. Reserve catcher Robinson Chirinos (concussion) also was placed on the DL, and closer Kyle Farnsworth (sore right elbow) likely is headed there, too.

Farnsworth said a MRI revealed a strain of a muscle that’s causing soreness in his elbow. The reliever, who had 25 saves in 31 opportunities in 2011, said it’s the same problem that shut him down for a portion of last September.

“I just have to give it some time to calm down,” said Farnsworth, who went 5-1 with a 2.18 ERA over 63 appearances last season.

“It’s weird. Sitting around it doesn’t really hurt. Playing catch doesn’t hurt,” Farnsworth said, adding that he occasionally feels discomfort when he’s finishing pitches.

“Sometimes I’d feel it, sometimes I wouldn’t,” the right-hander said. “It was more aggravating than anything trying to figure out what it is. … Hopefully we got it figured out this time.”

Manager Joe Maddon would not speculate on how long Farnsworth might be sidelined. The pitcher was on the 25-man roster submitted Wednesday, but that could change by opening day.

With the exception of veteran designated hitter Luke Scott and outfielder Stephen Vogt, who was recalled from the minors because Upton and Fuld are injured, the “Future Rays” lineup had several players from the Class A Charlotte Stone Crabs.

Scott had one of the three hits off Rays No. 5 starter Jeff Niemann, who allowed one run and three hits over 6 1-3 innings.

“We pitched really well,” Maddon said. “I thought both Matt and Jeff were very sharp. They threw all their pitches, threw them for strikes. … We did some nice things on offense, we had some good at-bats. But you would expect a low scoring game when those two guys pitch.”

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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