PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Matt Moore came into camp with high expectations. Tuesday's lights-out performance by the left-hander against the Orioles should only serve to further stoke the fires of expectations.
After being slowed by an abdominal strain in the early going of Spring Training, the highly touted pitcher -- ranked by MLB.com as the No. 1 prospect in baseball -- faced six Orioles hitters in 1 2/3 innings, allowing no runs and no hits while striking out three and walking one.
Moore appears calm on the mound and equally calm around the media. On Wednesday, he was asked if he is prepared to handle all the hype.
"At this point in my life, I understand that hype is going to be there when people are expecting things out of you," Moore said. "Nobody is expecting me to do things that I cannot do, which is locate my fastball, locate my changeup and throw good breaking balls. Right now, those are things I have control of. So if I focus on those, I'm doing what I'm supposed to do. And the hype and all that stuff is going to take care of itself whether I do what everybody says is going to happen or whether it goes the opposite way."
Moore noted that if he allowed himself to think about the hype it would take away from what he's trying to concentrate on and accomplish.
"So [the hype is] going to come into my ears but not stay inside my head too long," Moore said.
Moore admitted that being the guy who is hyped is somewhat of a surreal experience, but not necessarily one he can't handle.
"The last four years I've been planning on being in this locker room doing these things," Moore said. "At some point, the way that my progression went through the system was a good steady progression that led up to this. It wasn't, 'Oh, you're drafted, let's send you straight to low A, Double-A to the big leagues,' because that's too fast. At least I think it would have been too fast for me being drafted at 17.
"So I think that those years kind of helped me see how it goes, you know, 'Could you buy into the hype, could you not buy into the hype?' So there are some decisions that got made that I didn't have any control over but wound up being the best for me."
Manager Joe Maddon observed that Moore has been "pretty calm" about the whole thing.
"I mean, he just goes about his business every day," Maddon said. "He's got a lot of confidence in himself and he knows we have a lot of confidence in him. He's kind of grown into this, because he didn't come into professional baseball with all the fanfare. He's pretty much grown into this pitcher he is today. We all like the way he handles himself. He's very confident."
Maddon expressed his desire for Moore to continue to be more process oriented than results oriented.
"And if he does that, he's going to be just fine and pitch for many years," Maddon said. "Again, people are going to go a little bit over the top because of what he did last year, and they're going to expect a lot of him this year. I think he's going to be very good this year. But from my perspective, I want him to go about his business properly on a daily basis, and if there are some pitfalls that occur -- because he is 22. He's going to make some mistakes."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.