Cobb feels great in bullpen, progressing quicker than expected
Rays righthander Alex Cobb (mild concussion) took a significant step in his recovery Friday afternoon, stepping back on the mound for the first time since getting struck in the head with a line drive nearly three weeks ago.
There's still no timetable for his return, but Cobb was encouraged with how great he felt during a 29-pitch bullpen session before Friday's game against the White Sox. He threw all his pitches, and said he felt "normal," like he did before suffering a mild concussion when Royals 1B Eric Hosmer's line drive hit him in the ear June 15, sending him to the hospital. Pitching coach Jim Hickey said he was "impressed" with Cobb's performance.
"I don't think we're extremely close, but we're moving a lot faster than expected," Cobb said. "Considering what happened, if you would ask me the next day I'd be extremely excited to be 19 days or so back on the mound. It's a great feeling to be able to be back out here, kind of be one step closer to where I want to be and getting into games."
Cobb said he's still dealing with symptoms from vertigo, but has passed the first set of concussion tests and his quality of life has improved a lot. He said he's just trying to keep his physical activities up to game shape for when he feels ready to pass the remaining tests that will clear him to pitch.
Cobb said the vertigo is a little bit better than it was last week, but doctors say in the next couple weeks he should see a "drastic improvement in where we are right now." He's going to proceed like it's a rehab assignment, continuing to do conditioning and throwing bullpens and moving his way up until his symptoms subside.
Cobb said he hears it's "very difficult" to get cleared by MLB in its concussion-related tests, and admits he's not ready, but is confident he's moving in the right direction, comparing his workouts to getting ready for spring training.
"It could be a positive thing," Cobb said. "I might be really fresh when I come back and in better shape than I was. You never know, this could be a good thing."