ST. PETERSBURG -- Rookie Mariners catcher Adam Moore was feeling a lot better on Saturday afternoon after X-rays showed there was no structural damage in his left knee.

Moore reached base on an infield single in the eighth inning. But his left foot hit the first-base bag awkwardly, jarring his heel and knee.

He shrugged off the pain and remained in the game against the Rays. But while running to second base after Ichiro Suzuki lined a base hit into the right-field corner, Moore "felt a pop" in his left knee and had to stop at second.

This time, he had to leave the game Seattle eventually lost, 3-2, on a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning.

"Once I hit the base, I felt it all in my heel," he said. "I felt a little pressure on my knee, but I didn't think anything of it. When Ichi hit that ball down the line, I made my turn around second and that's when I felt a little pop or something."

It was the first hit in three at-bats for Moore, who had hit his first home run of the season in Friday night's series opener.

Manager Don Wakamatsu said Moore would be re-evaluated on Sunday before a roster move is made.

Rob Johnson, who replaced Moore at second and behind the plate, has been bothered by a sore back and had not even taken batting practice the past two days.

Matt Tuiasosopo, who played first base on Saturday, is the emergency third catcher, so when he came to bat in the ninth inning with the go-ahead run on second base, Wakamatsu could not pinch-hit for Tui, who had been 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.

Moore said he thought he would be ready to play again soon.

"I felt a lot better after the X-rays," he said. "Everything is fine. It's just sore right now and hopefully after a couple of days, I'll be able to get back in there."

A possible roster move would be to promote Josh Bard from Triple-A Tacoma, but he's not on the 40-man roster, so a younger, less-experienced receiver might be promoted from Double-A West Tennessee.

Bedard not progressing as quickly as thought

ST. PETERSBURG -- The progress of injured left-hander Erik Bedard has slowed and it appears that his regular-season debut remains several weeks away.

Bedard had a long-toss session prior to the Mariners' game against the Rays on Saturday and, pending the results, the organization will decide the next step.

"He is not progressing as fast as we thought, and we're taking it day-by-day," manager Don Wakamatsu said. "We'll talk about a course of action."

Bedard seemed to be improving so well last month during his throwing sessions that Wakamatsu said it was "possible" for the pitcher to be ready to be inserted into the starting rotation in late May.

"Everyone wants him back as soon as possible," Wakamatsu said, "but it still comes back to what is the best plan of attack to keep him healthy all year. As much as we want him back, his progression will be based on his health."

It has been nearly nine months since Bedard had labrum surgery on his throwing shoulder and it normally takes at least 10 months to recover. So he actually is ahead of schedule, although it could take at least that long for him to be game-ready.

"He knows his body better than anybody and has to decide if it's better to go out and throw 30 or 45 pitches," said Wakamatsu.

Bedard would throw at least two simulated games before going out on a Minor League rehab assignment.

"There is improvement," Wakamatsu said, "but he wants to be able to go out and compete and be as good as possible, commanding his breaking ball. ... The curveball always has been his bread-and-butter pitch and he's not comfortable with where it is right now."

Sweeney sends a message with steal

ST. PETERSBURG -- Designated hitter Mike Sweeney said he was trying to send a message when he swiped third base in Friday night's victory over the Rays.

"This week has been pretty tough on us," he said. "We're trying to play baseball with passion and win ballgames with passion, so that's the story."

The storyline all week has been the Nap Flap, the fallout from a story in the (Tacoma) News Tribune that Ken Griffey Jr. was, according to two unnamed players, sleeping during a recent game at Safeco Field.

The article caused a firestorm that engulfed the team.

Griffey, batting .200 with no home runs and six RBIs, had been playing against right-handed starters, but was not in the lineup for the third consecutive game on Friday night.

He also was on the bench for Saturday afternoon's game against Rays right-hander James Shields.

"I was surprised to be in the lineup [Friday night] and the players are rallying around Junior," Sweeney said. "I thought he was going to be in the lineup, but he wasn't and I figured it was my time to shine. I would do it in honor of him."

Sweeney, who had not even attempted to steal a base in the previous 224 games he played, stood at second base in the first inning with one out.

"Our offense has been less than stellar up to this point, and I was just trying to put myself in better position to score a run for Kotch," Sweeney said. "[Wade Davis] didn't look at me [prior to the first pitch to Casey Kotchman] and I told myself, 'If he did it again, I will take third.'

"He did it again and my instincts were right," said Sweeney, who pilfered the base without a throw.

"Ichiro called me Rickey Henderson," Sweeney laughed. "We didn't capitalize and score any runs because of it, but I think it set the tone for the game."

Sweeney said he couldn't remember the last time he stole a base.

"I haven't filled that column in quite a while. Hopefully, I'll get another chance this year."

Worth noting

Manager Don Wakamatsu gave struggling first baseman Casey Kotchman the day off Saturday. Kotchman is mired in a 4-for-53 slump over the past 14 games. Matt Tuiasosopo started at first in his place. ... Catcher Rob Johnson has been experiencing back soreness, similar to what knocked center fielder Franklin Gutierrez out of the lineup for two games. Johnson was feeling better on Saturday and might be available for Sunday's series finale against the Rays. ... The Mariners are one of three teams (Rays and Yankees) that have at least two starting pitchers with a 3.00 or lower ERA. Doug Fister is ranked third in the American League at 1.72, while lefty Jason Vargas is 13th at 3.00. ... After hitting only 10 home runs in their first 30 games, the Mariners went into Saturday's game with six blasts in the past two games. ... It was a reunion for the Mariners on Saturday. Among the ex-Mariners at Tropicana Field were former GM Woody Woodward, long-time hitting/bench coach Lee Elia and former manager Bob Melvin.