ST. PETERSBURG — RHP Alex Cobb makes the first of his final two starts tonight against the Yankees, and no matter the outcome of either outing, he said he will be pleased with his body of work since his return this month from Tommy John surgery.
"I've done enough good things to hang my hat on," he said.
Cobb said he learned a lot about himself as a pitcher during his 15-month rehab, both physically and mentally.
"I'll say for onfield, I've learned I can get away with competing and give my team a chance to win without my best stuff," he said. "I can go into a start and not panic when a certain pitch is not there. I can fill up a zone and I can go out there and fill up a zone for six-plus innings with not my A stuff.
"I've learned that, and I think for a career standpoint, I can pump the brakes a little bit. I don't need to go 100 percent in every single bullpen. I don't need to throw an extra 20 pitches a bullpen. I can be content with the work I put in that day and tread that line of getting our work in without being stupid."
FRANKLIN'S GOOD NEWS: An MRI exam taken Monday on the left hamstring of UTL Nick Franklin revealed a moderate strain, which leaves him hopeful he can play again before the season ends Oct. 2 in Texas.
"Every day it seems like I'm progressing," Franklin said. "Just trying to get it better so I can get maybe a weekend."
Franklin is having his best run at the major-league level. He's proving his worth to the team as a super utility player, making starts at first base, second base, shortstop and the corner outfield spots.
"Offensively, he's a different hitter than what we saw last year," manager Kevin Cash said. "He's really taken to the outfield and has become a good player out there."
Cash said Franklin should arrive at spring training as the frontrunner to make the team as the super utility player.
Franklin will rehab his hamstring during this homestand. Cash said it's too early to determine if he will return to the lineup this season.
Franklin wants to play again so he can finish the year as an active player and maybe bring a little more momentum into his offseason.
"I either go in the training room and get it better or I call it a season," he said. "Hopefully I'm doing something for a reason, and hopefully I can get back out there, whether it's two or three games, that's the goal."
SURGERY UPDATES: RF Steven Souza Jr. (left hip) and 1B/DH Logan Morrison (left wrist) are both scheduled to have surgery today.
Morrison, a free agent after the season, will have his performed by Dr. Tom Graham in Orlando.
Souza's will be performed in Nashville by Dr. Thomas Byrd.
"(Souza) could have played through it," Cash said, "but at our recommendation and him thinking about it, let's be smart and get in front of this as quick as possible so he can come in to spring training very healthy."
Souza was hitting .327 with a .984 on-base plus slugging percentage this month, by far his most productive month of the season.
"Offensively, a month ago he was probably on the same track of repeating the season before, but he made some significant adjustments that we all feel good about," Cash said.