Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays' Alex Cobb's simulated game goes well

ST. PETERSBURG — Rays RHP Alex Cobb took what he said was a "huge" step in his recovery from a strained left oblique by throwing 49 crisp pitches, breaking balls included, in a three-inning simulated game Friday.

"I felt good," Cobb said, adding his biggest concern was his mechanics and not the injury, which no longer is painful.

"I think that's a good sign on its own," he said. "It's out of my mind. I'm trying to work on baseball stuff instead of being cautious and trying to heal."

Cobb, on the disabled list since April 13, said much depends on how he feels today. But the tentative schedule, written "in pencil," he said, includes one or two additional simulated games (one of four innings Monday), one or two rehab starts (though Cobb said he doesn't believe he needs any) and a return to the rotation late in the month.

Whatever the schedule, "I don't think it's going to be a whole long period of time from now to (when) you're going to see him pitch in a game for us," manager Joe Maddon said.

"Everything is going to go off how I feel the next day," Cobb said. "I'm happy with it right now. Hopefully, (today) we'll be even happier when there's nothing wrong."

HELLICKSON UPDATE: RHP Jeremy Hellickson, rehabbing from February's elbow surgery, said he likely will throw 45 pitches in today's bullpen session but will stay away from breaking balls.

Except for a couple he said he'll spin before getting on the mound.

Hellickson said his elbow was "pretty sore" after previous bullpen sessions but added the discomfort is normal for where he is in his recovery.

HISTORY: Though its records admittedly are incomplete, the Elias Sports Bureau has no record of a major-league pitcher accomplishing what Rays RHP Brad Boxberger did Thursday against the Orioles: strike out the side on nine pitches after entering the game with the bases loaded.

"Kind of surreal," said Boxberger who added of later watching his performance on video, "I was kind of in disbelief. It's going to be pretty cool to be able to tell my kids and future family members I was able to do something and make a little bit of history."

PROACTIVE: CF Desmond Jennings said he wasn't disappointed he was held out of Friday's starting lineup.

"I'm disappointed I haven't been producing," he said.

Jennings' 1-for-15 dip comes after he was named AL player of the week for the week ending Sunday after hitting .355 (11-for-31) with three home runs in seven games.

"The last couple of nights weren't typical," Maddon said. "So why not be proactive and get him down before he gets really tired and absolutely needs a day? You look for those little signs to give guys a moment because he's been outstanding."

LITTLE HELP: It has become an annual thing for those attending the Rays' Chamber of Commerce luncheon in Tampa to help Maddon formulate a lineup for that day's game.

So when OF Brandon Guyer's table was, as Maddon said, "really loud," the manager joked that was the excuse to get him in and give Jennings the night off.

"I was easily talked into it because I was looking for a day to give (Jennings) off anyhow," Maddon said.

The Rays now are 2-2 with a lineup out of the luncheon.

Miscellany: Maddon in the first inning successfully challenged an out call at first base that originally was the back end of an inning-ending double play. The inning ended on a double play anyway as James Loney struck out and Ben Zobrist was caught trying to steal second. … The Rays' longest home stretch without a victory happened in 1999: 34 days between May 21 over the Angles and June 25 over the Blue Jays. After Friday's loss, the Rays have gone 17 days since beating the Twins on April 22.

Comments
Rays tread new turf (literally) for second straight year

Rays tread new turf (literally) for second straight year

PORT CHARLOTTE — Tropicana Field is getting new turf — again.Shaw Sports will replace the surface installed last spring in a mutual decision with the Rays that it did not look as good — from the stands or on TV — as expected.T...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Steven Souza on Rays roster moves: ‘This is not a shocker’

Steven Souza on Rays roster moves: ‘This is not a shocker’

RF Steven Souza Jr., returned to camp today after missing four days to attend to family matters in Seattle.He did not go into detail about why left. When asked if everyone in his family is okay, he said, "Right now. We'll just leave it at that."Souza...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Who is new Rays 1B/DH C.J. Cron? 10 things to know

Who is new Rays 1B/DH C.J. Cron? 10 things to know

Acquired Saturday night from the Angels (for a player to be named – a minor-leaguer, and not a top prospect), 1B/DH C.J. Cron is expected to join the Rays today in Port Charlotte.Here are 10 things to know about him:1. Full name: Christopher Jo...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Is ‘The Ray Tank’ a noun, or a verb?

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Is ‘The Ray Tank’ a noun, or a verb?

The name of the Rays’ new blog, "The Ray Tank’’, inadvertently took on new meaning for fans following the departures of Jake Odorizzi and Corey Dickerson this past weekend.Rick Stroud has the latest from Port Charlotte in his latest podcast, as Kevin...
Updated: 3 hours ago
As Kevin Kiermaier blasts changes, Rays see empowered Kevin Cash as stabilizer

As Kevin Kiermaier blasts changes, Rays see empowered Kevin Cash as stabilizer

PORT CHARLOTTE — The list of those no longer with the team was going to be noteworthy no matter what Monday as the holdovers, newcomers and wannabes gathered for the first full-squad workout in Camp Dis-A-Ray.Then even before Rays manager Kevin...
Published: 02/19/18
Ray Tank: Fans have fun with name of team’s new blog

Ray Tank: Fans have fun with name of team’s new blog

Rays fans upset about the team's recent moves found the perfect target for their ridicule Monday when the team announced the name of its new blog.The Ray Tank.Announcing... The Ray Tank!Our new blog will have behind-the-scenes stories, photos, and mo...
Published: 02/19/18
Rays journal: Matt Andriese not mad (but not happy either) with move to bullpen

Rays journal: Matt Andriese not mad (but not happy either) with move to bullpen

PORT CHARLOTTE — Having spent the offseason preparing for a spot in the rotation, RHP Matt Andriese said he was initially "shocked" when told Sunday that he will begin the season in the bullpen."Ultimately, I'm not happy with the decision," And...
Published: 02/19/18
The Yankees’ show of shows is off and homering

The Yankees’ show of shows is off and homering

TAMPA — Move over, Hamilton.The show of shows began Monday at Steinbrenner Field. The Boss would have loved it. Yankees shock and awe began during the first full workout. Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton took batting practice. The mere sight o...
Published: 02/19/18
On deck in Rays ballpark quest: Tampa Bay’s business community

On deck in Rays ballpark quest: Tampa Bay’s business community

TAMPA — Columbia Restaurant owner Richard Gonzmart says he’s ready to put his checkbook where his heart is when it comes to supporting a Tampa Bay Rays move to Ybor City.So is the investment fund for the founding family of Ashley Furniture. So, it ap...
Published: 02/19/18
Live from Port Charlotte: First full squad workout

Live from Port Charlotte: First full squad workout

The Rays held their first full squad workout today, though RF Steven Souza Jr., did not work out because of a family matter. He had already reported to camp.More fallout from Saturday's Jake Odorizzi trade and DFA'ing of Corey Dickerson. This time fr...
Published: 02/19/18