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Matt Moore of the Rays elects to have Tommy John surgery, will miss 2014 season

Mike Oz
Big League Stew
Tampa Bay Rays Photo Day
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Matt Moore of the Tampa Bay Rays is the 13th pitcher to need Tommy John surgery since the start of spring training. (Getty Images)

Add Matt Moore to the list. Tommy John surgery has been claiming pitchers across the league this spring, and Moore, the Rays' rising star, is next.

He was diagnosed recently with a partially torn UCL in his pitching elbow and Moore, 24, was facing a decision whether to keep pitching, knowing a full tear was coming eventually, or selecting the safe route, surgery.

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Moore leaves the field after an April 7 appearance. (Getty Images)

Pitchers have been in this predicament before. Adam Wainwright, for instance, pitched for years with a partial tear, before ultimately needing Tommy John surgery. New York Mets ace Matt Harvey faced a similar decision last fall, and choose surgery.

Moore opted for Tommy John after a throwing session Monday afternoon, telling Marc Tompkin of the Tampa Bay Times:

"What was coming out, it's a shame to have to be shut down right now, but it just wasn't comfortable," Moore said. "Being stuck in the position I am right now, where it's not exactly comfortable but it's not exactly completely broke, it's kind of one of those things that you know it's going to get worse. If we had to have our best guess, that was what we would say — it's going to get worse."

Moore — who was 17-4 a season ago with a 3.24 ERA — will have many partners in Tommy John rehab, as Kris Medlen, Brandon Beachy, Jarrod Parker, Patrick Corbin, Bruce Rondon and Jameson Taillon are among the 13 pitchers who have needed Tommy John surgery since the start of spring training. There were 19 in 2013.

As a unit, the Rays pitching staff is pretty beat up at the moment. Alex Cobb and Jeremy Hellickson are both on the disabled list, but they won't be gone as long as Moore. Cesar Ramos and Erik Bedard are listed as Tampa Bay's fourth and fifth starters at the moment, with one of them in line to stick around a little longer. Cobb is only on the 15-day DL, but Hellickson won't be back until late May.

As things stand, the Rays' ERA of 3.24 is still the seventh best in baseball.

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Mike Oz is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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