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Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Alex Cobb refocuses after plunking Oriole

PORT CHARLOTTE — Rays RHP Alex Cobb said he has been upset with his fastball location during camp, even though Friday was just his second appearance since August surgery.

Cobb found little solace after he watched, and heard, one of his errant fastballs hit Orioles LF Nolan Reimold in the jaw in the first inning of a 3-3 tie at Charlotte Sports Park.

Reimold was on the ground for several minutes before getting up on his own. He was carted off the field and taken to a hospital, where a CT scan was negative. Orioles manager Buck Showalter said the ball hit Reimold's helmet and jaw equally, and he was relieved to hear Reimold had no breaks, just a loose tooth, but it could have been worse.

Said Cobb, "That's probably the worst feeling you can have as a pitcher is seeing someone like that, being the cause of a guy taking a step back in his career possibly. It's just something you never want to see on a baseball field. And when you're the cause of it, it's a feeling you can't describe."

Said Rays manager Joe Maddon: "It's an awful feeling, an awful moment for everybody."

Cobb said he got Reimold's phone number through their common agent and planned to check on him. Other than that moment, Cobb was happy with how he felt during his three shutout innings, in which he allowed two hits and two walks and struck out two.

The fastball command will come as he works his way back from surgery to remove a blood clot and blockage in the area of his first right rib.

"He's got great fight," Maddon said. "When you hit someone like that, it can be unsettling, but he was okay after that, and I liked that. That's just part of this game; it stinks sometimes."

ON TRACK: 3B Evan Longoria (bruised right hand) was encouraged after taking batting practice, and he hopes to play in the next few days.

Longoria, who has been limited since getting hit by a Matt Bush pitch March 1, said he felt great after taking his regular swings in the cage.

The key will be any residual soreness Longoria has today; he didn't expect any. Longoria planned to face LHP Matt Moore in live batting practice today. Though he doesn't want to put a timetable on his return, if all goes well, Longoria could be in the lineup Sunday against the Pirates.

"It's only been, what, five, six days, but it always seems like eternity," Longoria said of being sidelined. "I'm really looking forward to getting back out there. Fortunately we have a lot of time left."

HELPING HAND: INF Sean Rodriguez got X-rays and saw a hand specialist in St. Petersburg about his injured left index finger. Rodriguez said though the knuckle is badly sprained and swollen, he should be back in two to three days. "When I talked to the hand doctor, he said it's all pain tolerance," Rodriguez said. "I said, 'In that case, I'm good.' "

PRICE CHECK: LHP David Price's neck felt better, but it was still stiff, one day after having minor spasms while toweling off. Price said he didn't know when he would throw next, but he still didn't expect the injury to throw him off schedule.

MISCELLANY: 3B Matt Mangini had a two-run single and OF Brad Coon hit a solo homer for the Rays (2-5-1). … LHP Alex Torres struggled with his command, walking three and hitting a batter in two innings. … The attendance at Charlotte Sports Park was 4,179. … SS Reid Brignac was off after playing two days straight, Maddon said.

Joe Smith can be reached at joesmith@tampabay.com.

Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Alex Cobb refocuses after plunking Oriole 03/09/12 [Last modified: Friday, March 9, 2012 9:23pm]
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