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Tampa Bay Rays' Brandon Gomes, recovering from back surgery, won't throw at start of spring training

ST. PETERSBURG — Coming off an impressive rookie season, reliever Brandon Gomes is projected to play a key role in the Rays bullpen this year.

But Gomes won't be throwing at the start of spring training, held back as he continues to recover from November back surgery to clean up a disc.

"Right now it's progressing along great, I don't really see anything to be concerned about," Gomes said Friday after a workout at Tropicana Field. "I might miss the very beginning of spring training, but that's about it."

Gomes has yet to throw off a mound and likely won't throw bullpen sessions during the first week or two of camp. But given the lighter workload for relievers, he expects to be ready for opening day.

Gomes, 27, was 2-1 with a 2.92 ERA in 40 appearances, including a team-high 29 after the All-Star break, during two 2011 stints with the Rays.

He said the back became an issue about midway through the season. "It was bothering me here and there, and we decided to get it taken care of once the offseason started," he said.

Starter Alex Cobb, whose season ended with mid-August surgery to remove a blood clot and part of a rib, is throwing bullpen sessions with no limitations. "I feel better than I did last year," he said.

Sign here: Outfielder Matt Joyce and right-hander Alex Cobb, plus former teammate Grant Balfour, will be at the UPS Store (7028 W. Waters Ave., Tampa) signing autographs from 11 a.m. to noon today. Cost is $22 for Joyce, $15 for Cobb and Balfour.

Indians' string of avoiding arbitration hits 21 years

CLEVELAND — With a hearing just days away, the Indians and All-Star shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera agreed to terms on a one-year, $4.55 million contract, extending the Indians' streak of avoiding arbitration to 21 years.

The Indians haven't had a hearing since 1991, when pitcher Greg Swindell and Jerry Browne had their salaries decided by an arbitrator.

Friday's agreement was $75,000 above the midpoint between the $5.2 million Cabrera asked for and the $3.75 million the Indians had offered. The parties had discussions about a long-term deal but they couldn't reach one.

Orioles: The team apologized to two South Korean baseball organizations upset over Baltimore's contract with a high school pitcher. It's unclear if the Korean Baseball Association will reverse its decision to ban Orioles scouts from its games after they signed left-hander Kim Seong-min, 17, before his graduation year.

White Sox: Former Arkansas and Southern Cal quarterback Mitch Mustain is closing in on a minor-league contract with the team, the Associated Press reported. Mustain, a right-handed pitcher in high school, had planned to play in the Arena Football League this year.

Marc Topkin can be reached at topkin@tampabay.com. Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Tampa Bay Rays' Brandon Gomes, recovering from back surgery, won't throw at start of spring training 02/10/12 [Last modified: Friday, February 10, 2012 10:38pm]

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