KANSAS CITY -- Rays starter Matt Moore departed Monday night's 4-2 loss to the Royals with left elbow soreness after delivering a pitch in the fifth inning.
According to the Rays, tests were inconsistent, but there's no reason to believe it's serious at this time. Moore will get an MRI on Tuesday morning.
"I had an X-ray and those came back fine," Moore said. "That's not the end-all, but it's a start at a hint of some good news. … I am focused on the only thing I can be, which is tomorrow morning's MRI.
"It is extremely frustrating to have that unknown outcome in your mind. But I don't really care to speculate on what's to come and what if. It's just a matter of waiting 12 hours or so until we get it. … If I had to have a guess, I would assume that things are fine structurally. But that's just the way I like to think about things."
Moore grimaced after throwing a changeup to Nori Aoki that made the count 2-2 with one out in the fifth. He then wiggled his left arm in obvious discomfort before a mound conference convened that included Rays manager Joe Maddon and assistant athletic trainer Paul Harker.
"The feeling was in the elbow again, and I can't take any chances with that," said Maddon, referencing the elbow soreness Moore felt last season that caused him to go on the disabled list and miss 31 games. "[Head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield's] take on it, he felt like it wasn't like it was last year, but we still have to get it checked out. Ronnie, initially from when he had spoken to the doctor, thought it was something less than last year, but we have to wait for the test to have the conclusive [report]."
Prior to the actual pitch being thrown that caused Moore to grimace, Maddon had not seen anything to indicate trouble.
"I didn't [see anything unusual], because his numbers went from 90 up to 93, 94 [mph] all night," Maddon said. "I thought he was actually pitching better with the changeup and curveball, and that's why I wasn't really focused on the fastball right there. I thought he was getting a little softer, which I liked, because there was a lot more strike throwing, better action on his pitches, worse swings from them, I liked what he was doing."
After a couple of minutes of deliberation, Moore exited the game and left-hander Cesar Ramos entered, recording the final two outs of the frame.
Should Moore need to go on the disabled list, the most likely candidate to replace him would be veteran southpaw Erik Bedard, who spent Spring Training with the team and is currently pitching for Triple-A Durham.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.