In today's Winter Leagues report I saw an encouraging bit of news as Adam Moore has hit safely in his last seven games. A small note, but one that could prove to be of heavy value going forward for the Mariners, who are depleted of catching talent anywhere near major league ready.
Moore has been the forgotten Mariner as early this season he suffered a serious knee injury. The once highly regarded catching prospect has seen the start of his major league career derailed twice due to injury, and at 27, he could hear the clock ticking. It was tough to see him in the clubhouse this year, at times clearly frustrated with his situation but trying to soldier on, dedicating himself to his rehab and hoping that it wasn't too late for him.
His latest injury was scary. On April 6 in Texas he scampered behind the plate to retrieve a Felix Hernandez pitch that had got by him. He planted his foot and then slipped. As he got up it was apparent that he was hurt and the Mariners reporters in the press box that day in Arlington all got the same feeling – not again. We had seen Adam helped off the field after pulling up at second base in Tampa Bay the year before. Could the kid catch a break?
No. An MRI revealed a meniscus tear and surgery revealed that it was a serious one. He would miss the rest of the season. In September he was cleared to head to Arizona for instructional league and then Fall Ball. When I spoke to people who saw him early in Peoria they said that he looked like a catcher coming off injury. In talking with Adam today, it sounds like he has made great progress in the last month.
"The knee feels good," he said. "It has taken a long time at the plate to get back to where I feel comfortable but in the last couple of weeks I have been getting my timing down and I am starting to have fun again."
He told me that physically there was an adjustment as he got back into game shape but the biggest adjustment for him was putting the injury out of his head.
"The biggest thing was getting over everything mentally," he said. "Knowing everything is fine with my knee. Having the mindset that the knee is good and just getting over it. Get out there and play."
"I had to tell myself that I was fine," he continued. "Regardless of what I was doing in a game, slipping on the field, running, doing something stupid, making a play, whatever. In Texas it was just slipping when it happened. I had to get that out of my mind and now there is nothing for me to think of anymore. I know I am 100 percent healthy and those thoughts do not go through my head. If feels good to be back in game shape."
The Mariners would like Moore to continue playing this fall and are discussing Winter Ball options. A lot will depend on whether or not teams in Venezuela or the Dominican Republic need a catcher, but if they do, Moore says he is ready to go when he gets the call.
I couldn't let Adam go without asking about some of the young pitchers he has been catching this fall. He says they are living up to the hype.
"Uh, yeah. It is not a secret with [Danny] Hultzen," he said. "That guys is good. Not only with talent and stuff, he understands what he wants to do out there. His fastball and changeup command are ridiculous. His slider is real good, too. He is the real deal."
He also said that Brian Moran and Steven Hensley pitched well and Forrest Snow stood out.
"Forrest had a great Fall League as well," Moore said. "He has five pitches he can throw for strikes and a good fastball. Smart guy on the mound, like Hultzen. When I go out there to ask why they want to throw a pitch they have an answer. They know what they are doing out there. All of them."
With any luck we will see some of these pitchers and in Moore in Seattle next year.