ST. PETERSBURG — Alex Cobb woke up Sunday morning with a little headache, but by the afternoon the Rays pitcher was released from Bayfront Medical Center to begin his recovery by resting at home.
That brought a sizeable amount of relief to both the Rays and the Royals, as well as anyone who saw Cobb get struck on the right ear by Eric Hosmer's line drive during Saturday's game.
The right-hander suffered what the team called a "mild concussion" and was treated for cauliflower ear, with fluid drained to alleviate pressure, but all other tests were normal, the Rays said. He was placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list, but there's no timetable for his return. Reliever Josh Lueke was recalled from Triple-A Durham to take his roster spot, and the team will have to decide who will take Cobb's turn in the rotation, with righty Alex Colome the likely possibility.
Cobb, 25, won't travel with the Rays on their upcoming seven-game road trip and will have to pass a battery of concussion-related and conditioning tests before he's even cleared to throw. Manager Joe Maddon said pitching is secondary to the fact that it appears Cobb's going to be fine.
"Want to say thank you to our All-Star trainer Ron Porterfield and the doctors at bayfront hospital," Cobb tweeted Sunday. "Woke up with only a minor headache today."
Pitcher Matt Moore said the team already felt more at ease Saturday night, when 10-15 players, including former Rays James Shields and Elliot Johnson, along with Hosmer, visited Cobb in the hospital and noticed his sense of humor was intact. Hosmer said he felt much better when Cobb cracked a joke at his expense, bragging he at least got the Royals first baseman out on the play.
But the tone of conversation turned serious in both clubhouses Sunday when discussing the topic of pitcher safety, especially since Blue Jays left-hander J.A. Happ was struck in eerily similar fashion on the same mound May 7.
The consensus was players would like to see a more proactive approach to protecting pitchers, as opposed to waiting for a potentially worse — even fatal — incident to spark change.
"It's the scariest part of the game, if you ask me," Moore said.