Alex Cobb made a generally strong return from May 2015 Tommy John surgery, a pair of disastrous outings to end the season notwithstanding. Before giving up 15 earned runs over 4.1 innings in his last two starts, he'd posted a solid 3.06 ERA and 12:4 K:BB in 17.2 innings over his first three trips to the mound. The 29-year-old has a proven track record, having posted a trio of double-digit win seasons from 2012-14, but it remains to be seen if his arm can fully return to form. While he would seem to have the inside track to a rotation spot entering spring training, Cobb will need to fend off the likes of Matt Andriese and Blake Snell. Otherwise, Cobb could make for an interesting long-term project in a bullpen capacity, an option that may be explored once he exhausts every opportunity to reclaim a starter's role.
Cobb threw live batting practice Monday and was happy with the session, Bill Chastain of MLB.com reports. "There weren't too many hitters, I had a lot of injured guys in my group who were kind of just tracking," Cobb said. "I had Brad Miller, who was swinging, and he swung often, thankfully [which allowed Cobb to see how a hitter reacted to his pitches]. But it was good." The 29-year-old righty struggled and in five starts at the big league level last season after missing the entirety of the 2015 season due to Tommy John surgery. Cobb was 1-2 with a mammoth 8.59 ERA and 1.77 WHIP over 22 innings in five starts at the tail end of the season, and enters spring training looking to solidify a spot in the Rays starting rotation. Considering his difficult stretch in 2016, Cobb is looking forward to getting a fresh start this spring and getting some live game action in. "You go from flat-ground work in mid-January, progress up to the bullpens, and live BP. The games. Just another step in that direction. I was happy to get that under my belt."
Cobb and the Rays avoided arbitration with a $4.2 million deal, Roger Mooney of the Tampa Bay Times reports. Cobb's return from Tommy John surgery went less than well in 2016, allowing an 8.59 ERA in five starts. He could still easily bounce back from that in 2017, but it could be a red flag for his recovery. Considering this is probably his final round of arbitration, his 2017 season will be vital to his career as he hits free agency at the end of the year.
Cobb (1-2) allowed eight runs on eight hits and two walks and lasted just three innings in a loss Tuesday against the White Sox. Cobb has allowed 15 runs over 4.1 innings in his past two starts after a promising beginning to his injury shortened 2016. He was touched up for a pair of home runs and has now allowed five in as many starts. His ERA is a brutal 8.59, a hard number to believe after he posted a 2.87 ERA in 166.1 innings last season.
Cobb, who makes the first of his last two starts of the season Wednesday versus the Yankees, is pleased with his body of work at the major league level in 2016, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. The 28-year-old is pleased with what he's been able to do so far over his three starts since returning to the major league level, Cobb has given up six earned runs over 17.2 innings over that period, posting a solid 3.06 ERA and 12:4 K:BB. The fact that he's been able to put together some positive efforts at the tail end of 2016 is sure to provide him with some much-needed confidence heading into next season, regardless of how his last pair of outings go. "I've done enough good things to hang my hat on," he said.
Cobb (1-0) worked around three walks to allow just one run on two hits while striking out four in 6.2 innings in a victory over the Blue Jays on Wednesday. The right-hander wasn't quite as sharp as his first two outings back from Tommy John surgery, but he's still yielded just four free passes in 17.2 frames. Cobb pitched well enough to win in his other starts, but he finally received the run support early in the game to capture the victory. He is 1-0 with a 3.06 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 12 strikeouts in 17.2 innings over three starts this season. His next scheduled outing is Wednesday against the Yankees.