ST. PETERSBURG -- Scott Moore was in the wrong place at the wrong time on Friday night when he had the misfortune of being an extra position player on a team that needed another pitcher. Baltimore optioned Moore down to Triple-A Norfolk in order to recall Jim Johnson, but manager Dave Trembley said it wasn't a reflection on how he's played.

"I honestly believe, and I told Scott this, that he'll be a regular in the big leagues. But it's not happening right now," he said. "It's almost the same situation we had to do with sending [Garrett] Olson out, [Hayden] Penn out, [Radhames] Liz out, [Bob] McCrory out. We had to do what was right -- not what was easy. I told him he needed to go and get some at-bats."

Moore, a natural third baseman, has been blocked by veteran Melvin Mora. He's also shown the ability to play first base, where he's blocked by Kevin Millar and Aubrey Huff. Moore put in countless hours this spring to learn second base and get more chances to play, but Trembley has had problems playing him as often as he'd like.

That message was communicated Friday night, when Trembley provided Moore some encouragement.

"I said, 'Hey, listen, you didn't do anything wrong,'" he said. "The doubleheader put us in the situation where we needed a starter for Monday, so we're going to give [long reliever Matt] Albers that opportunity.

"When we do that, we need to make sure somebody goes to the bullpen to take Albers' spot."

Barring an injury, Moore will have to stay with Norfolk for 10 days before he can be recalled. Trembley said he'll be able to get regular playing time down there and that his future is back in a big league uniform, and, to Moore's credit, he appeared to grasp that logic at face value. Now, the former first-round pick has to hit his way back to Baltimore.

"He was great about it," Trembley said of the closed-door conversation. "I said, 'You're not at the point in your career right now where you want to be a utility guy, an extra guy in the big leagues. I know you want to be here but you want to be here and be in a situation where you're going to play every day.' So he was OK with that."