A lot of people bought stock in Matt Moore 10 years ago.

Colby Lewis would advise against selling now.

Lewis was there, in Arlington, Texas, on Sept. 30, 2011, when Moore pitched seven scoreless innings for the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 1 of the American League division series. It was Moore’s second major-league start and the beginning of his brief run as a mainstay in the Rays’ homegrown rotation.

All these years later, Moore is in spring training with the Phillies, trying to accomplish something that only Lewis and a few other pitchers have done: Revive his career in Japan, then return home for a successful second act.

So far, so good. Moore dispatched the Pittsburgh Pirates in four blink-and-you-missed-them innings of a 6-5 victory Sunday in Bradenton, Fla. In two starts and three appearances overall this spring, the 31-year-old lefty has allowed one run on three hits in eight innings. He has thrown 64 of 90 for strikes and cranked up his fastball to 95 mph.

“I’m happy with where I’m at physically and mentally,” said Moore, a front-runner for one of the last two spots in the Phillies’ rotation. “I’m not known for being a [fast] starter.”

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The Phillies signed Moore for $3 million in January despite not seeing him pitch in person last year. Scouts weren’t allowed to attend Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball games because of the coronavirus. But general manager Sam Fuld said the Phillies had access to video, as well as data on spin rates, release points, and movement from TrackMan technology that showed Moore had recovered from right knee surgery in 2019.

They also had Fuld’s history with Moore from three seasons as teammates with the Rays.

But the majors-to-Japan-to-the-majors path isn’t well worn. St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Miles Mikolas traveled it, going 18-4 with a 2.83 ERA in 32 starts upon his return to the big leagues in 2018. Chris Martin and Tony Barnette made it back, too, but they’re relievers. And each was overseas for at least two seasons.

Lewis represents perhaps the best success story. He went to Japan at age 28, posted a 2.82 ERA in two seasons for Hiroshima, then returned to the Texas Rangers and posted a 3.72 ERA in 201 innings in 2010.

In 72 games (34 starts) pre-Japan, Lewis was 12-15 with a 6.71 ERA. After returning, he went 65-57 with a 4.27 ERA in 161 games, all starts.

“In those lineups, you might have five or six guys that definitely could play in the big leagues in the states and then you’re going to face guys that are probably double-A, triple-A guys,” Lewis said by phone from Texas. “It’s a little bit easier baseball over there. If you control the fastball at 90 or better, you’re going to be pretty successful.”

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Lewis wasn’t as established as Moore, a 17-game winner in 2013 who “killed it when he first came up,” as Lewis recalled. But he also dealt with injuries that left him looking for a good contract and a chance to pitch in a starting rotation. Lewis figured the former would give him security that he lacked stateside. He hoped the latter would get him back on teams’ radar.

As an expatriate pitcher, Lewis thrived in the six-man rotations that are prevalent in Japan. He said there were other perks, too, that helped him have success and gain confidence.

“You get pampered like crazy,” Lewis said, laughing. “They’ve got so many massage therapists and everything to get you prepared every fifth day or sixth day. I loved throwing bullpens over there because their bullpen catchers, they’d say sorry if [the mitt] doesn’t pop right. You throw a good fastball, it pops, and they’re like, ‘Hey! Hey!’ You get done with your bullpen and it’s like, man, you feel like a million bucks.”

Moore got paid $3.1 million by SoftBank, a franchise that has won four Pacific League championships in the last seven years. He brought his wife, Anna, and 1-year-old son Luke to Japan, where he lived from ages 7 to 10 when his father was stationed on Okinawa as an Air Force mechanic.

And he made the most of the experience, posting a 2.65 ERA and working 85 innings in 15 starts.

“I knew going over there that I was in a great position,” Moore said. “Just from their team culture, they have this expectation of winning. Just being around those guys gave me confidence.”

But Moore also made sure that teams knew he was interested in returning.

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“It was pretty clear that the decision to go over there was not an end-of-the-career type move,” Fuld said. “This was just to confirm that he had gotten over some health issues. It does show you something that a guy is willing to take a bit of a chance from a personal standpoint playing overseas. I think that’s definitely a positive quality.”

Moore is still a lottery ticket for the Phillies. He has been a below-average major-league pitcher since 2016. But Fuld said they have seen an uptick in his fastball velocity this spring and an ability to throw changeups and cutters for strikes to set up his heater.

Could it be the start of a major-league renewal? It has happened before, albeit not often.

“I was so up and down early in my career that I felt like I had to go above and beyond before doors opened up,” Lewis said. “Matt did all the things that he did [before], so when he went over there and was successful, it was like, ‘Boom, he’s back. Let’s get back on board the Matt Moore train.’

“Everybody’s different. Everybody needs something that is going to help them find what it takes to be successful. If you’ve got to go across the ocean to find it, then so be it.”