Monday, October 15, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays' Cobb hit in head by line drive, taken off on stretcher

ST. PETERSBURG — The stunning sight, and the sound, were horrific, again, Rays pitcher Alex Cobb knocked to the ground during Saturday's game after being hit by a line drive flush on the side of his head.

But the words shortly afterward from Rays officials, teammates and Cobb himself were surprisingly reassuring: He escaped with nothing worse than a concussion and is "looking forward" to returning to the mound.

"I expected much worse," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "So, as it turned out, it appears that we were very lucky, and of course, Alex was very lucky."

"Amazing," said pitcher David Price, who went immediately to the hospital. "He feels good. Just the normal stuff. He's a trouper, man."

The official update from the Rays was that Cobb had "a mild concussion," all scans and tests "came back normal," he never lost consciousness, had a headache and a cut on his ear. Cobb was to spend the night at Bayfront Medical Center for observation and is expected to be released today, though it is too soon to speculate when he might pitch again, with at least a stay on the seven-day concussion disabled list likely.

The unofficial reports from teammates who went to see him were encouraging, too.

"He's the same old Cobb right now," pitcher Jeremy Hellickson said at the hospital. "He's laughing and joking. He's acting normal."

Late Saturday Cobb posted on his @Acobb53 Twitter account:

"Can't thank everyone enough for the prayers. Was the only way for me to make it out of there ok. Look forward to getting back out there."

Cobb, 25, was hit on the right ear by Eric Hosmer's fifth-inning liner and went down immediately, hands to his head, hat knocked off, blood coming from his ear. The force of impact was so great that the ball, which left Hosmer's bat at 102.4 mph, according to the Sun Sports broadcast, ricocheted nearly back to home plate, where catcher Jose Lobaton fielded it and threw to first for the out. Cobb told one visitor he never saw the ball coming.

"That's as square as you can get hit right there," Price said. "The ball bounces right back to the plate — that tells you it didn't graze you, it didn't hit you with a little glance. It got him as absolutely square as possible."

As horrible as the sight of seeing Cobb go immediately to the ground was, the sound of the ball striking his head might have been more haunting.

"Oh my God," said Matt Joyce, who was in rightfield. "Everybody heard the ball hit his head.''

Rays head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield raced first to the mound in a tremendously quick and organized response by the medical staff as the Trop fell silent, teammates huddled by the mound and players in both dugouts looking on anxiously.

"It's a crazy feeling," first baseman James Loney said. "I saw the blood coming out. It's just one of those things where you're hoping and praying."

As ominous as the scene looked, there actually were initially positive signs. Cobb kicked several times, was alert and talking to medical personnel and wanted to walk off rather than be carried out on a stretcher as he was, arms crossed and head immobilized.

"He told me that Porterfield was making him really mad on the field because he wouldn't let him stand up," Price said. "So that was good that he wanted to be able to stand up and he knew where he was."

Hosmer was staggered as well.

"Just frickin' scary stuff," he said. "You don't know if he's all right, and I honestly didn't even want to run to first. I wanted to see how he was doing. … There were a lot of things racing through my mind, and I just kind of shut down after that happened. … It's tough."

Cobb had just rejoined the Rays after attending funeral services in Massachusetts for his grandmother, that after a frustrating Monday outing where the first eight Red Sox reached base.

"He's had a very tough week with everything that's went on; our hearts are with him," Price said. "He's way tougher than I am, I can tell you that right now."

Cobb's father, Rick, and girlfriend were at the game and headed immediately to the hospital. So eventually did several players including Price, Hellickson, Matt Moore, former Rays James Shields and Elliot Johnson and Hosmer.

The incident was the second at the Trop this season — Toronto's J.A. Happ was similarly struck May 7 — and is sure to renew conversation about protective gear for pitchers.

As concerned as all parties were at the time about Cobb, they were relieved by the end of the night. "Hopefully," Shields said, "his hard-headedness is definitely real hard."

Times staff writers Joe Smith and Dan Sullivan contributed to this report. Marc Topkin can be reached at [email protected]

     
             
Comments
David Price finally leads Red Sox to a postseason victory. Sort of

David Price finally leads Red Sox to a postseason victory. Sort of

BOSTON — According to standard baseball measurements, David Price did not pitch well on Sunday night. The former Ray gave up four runs in fewer than five innings, handed back a lead that his Boston Red Sox teammates had given him in the first inning ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Sports Illustrated: Rays were baseball’s ‘most consequential’ team in 2018

Sports Illustrated: Rays were baseball’s ‘most consequential’ team in 2018

They won't win the World Series. And they didn't even make the playoffs.Yet, the Rays were baseball's "most consequential baseball team" this season, according to Sports Illustrated.The opener strategy first employed by the Rays presents "the biggest...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Add Reds to teams Rays’ Rocco Baldelli has talked with

Add Reds to teams Rays’ Rocco Baldelli has talked with

We told you in Sunday's Tampa Bay Times that Rays coach Rocco Baldelli was a "hot name" for the six current managerial openings, and had already been connected with the Blue Jays, Rangers and Twins.There was word Sunday morning of formal contact with...
Published: 10/14/18
Rays Tales: Is moving on from C.J. Cron the right move?

Rays Tales: Is moving on from C.J. Cron the right move?

ST. PETERSBURG —The Rays' primary target this offseason seems to be adding a right-handed impact bat.And to do so, they are likely to get rid of the one they have, 30-homer hitting 1B/DH C.J. Cron.Why?In short, to try to upgrade. And gain some ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Rays collecting donations for Hurricane Michael relief

Rays collecting donations for Hurricane Michael relief

The Rays are collecting donations to help those in the Panhandle affected by Hurricane Michael.You can donate from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday and 6 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday at the Tropicana Field Gate 4 dropoff circle at 16th Street near Fifth Avenue S in St. Pe...
Published: 10/13/18
Michelle Margaux leaving Rays TV broadcasts, heading to Houston

Michelle Margaux leaving Rays TV broadcasts, heading to Houston

Michelle Margaux is leaving Fox Sports Sun after one season as the reporter on Rays broadcasts and heading Houston to cover the NBA Rockets as the in-game reporter for AT&T SportsNet.Margaux will also have some hosting duties and work some Astros gam...
Published: 10/10/18
Rays VP Chaim Bloom interviews for Mets GM job

Rays VP Chaim Bloom interviews for Mets GM job

Rays senior VP Chaim Bloom is expected to be a candidate for several GM-level job this winter, and he reportedly had his first interview Wednesday, talking with Mets officials about their vacancy.The New York Post's Mike Puma reported Wednesday that ...
Published: 10/10/18
What they’re saying about Kevin Cash’s new deal with Rays

What they’re saying about Kevin Cash’s new deal with Rays

Reaction to Kevin Cash's contract extension that has him signed with the Rays through 2024, with a one-year option: Rays veteran CF Kevin Kiermaier:"Today is a great day for the Tampa Bay Rays organization extending Kevin Cash. We all know what he br...
Published: 10/10/18
Rick Stroud-Tom Jones debate: Will Rays win AL East during Kevin Cash’s tenure?

Rick Stroud-Tom Jones debate: Will Rays win AL East during Kevin Cash’s tenure?

Will the Rays win an American League East title under manager Kevin Cash, who on Tuesday had his contract extended through 2024?Times sports columnist Tom Jones and staff writer Rick Stroud debated the topic on Bay News 9's Spectrum Sports 360 show."...
Published: 10/10/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Rick Stroud, Tom Jones on Kevin Cash’s contract

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Rick Stroud, Tom Jones on Kevin Cash’s contract

Times sports columnist Tom Jones joins Rick Stroud to discuss the new deal that will keep Kevin Cash as the Rays skipper through at least 2024.Plus, which college football hires this year have been best? What are the expectations for Bucs quarterback...
Published: 10/10/18