Sunday, May 27, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Three Rays get work in Charlotte

PORT CHARLOTTE — It was rehab day at Charlotte Sports Park on Thursday, as three members of the Tampa Bay Rays used the Stone Crabs game against the Palm Beach Cardinals as a chance to get healthy.

Right-hander Alex Cobb made his first appearance in a game since being taken off his rehab assignment two weeks ago to fine-tune his mechanics.

"It's not frustrating," said Cobb, whose fastball consistently sat at 92 mph. "The process itself — the rehab — is frustrating, but the fact that I had a minor hiccup issue, that's not frustrating. If that's the worst thing that happens with my surgery and my rehab then I'll be very happy."

As expected, Cobb threw 41 pitches over three innings Thursday. He retired the first five batters he faced before allowing a double and a run-scoring single in consecutive at-bats.

That was the lone run Cobb surrendered, as he allowed three hits, struck out two, and had no walks. He had 31 strikes, and he threw 7 of 12 first-pitch strikes.

"I'm just going out there like I would for a normal game," Cobb said. "There's still some sharpening of pitches that's going to come. I can feel that each time I go out. I feel better and better."

Cobb was joined in Charlotte by Mikie Mahtook and Matt Duffy, who was acquired in a deal that sent pitcher Matt Moore to the Giants.

It was Mahtook's second game in as many days with the Stone Crabs. He went 1-for-3 on both Wednesday and Thursday. Wednesday's single was a blooper to left, with Thursday's single a hard-hit ball up the middle. He drew a walk Thursday.

"My hand feels awesome; my body feels great," said Mahtook, who is recovering from a fractured hand. "I'm just trying to see as many pitches as I can, and trying to put good swings on pitches, and try to slow it down. When you're away from the game that long, things tend to speed up."

Thursday was Duffy's debut with the Rays organization as he works to come back from an Achilles injury. Playing six innings at shortstop, Duffy went 1-for-3 with a solid single in his second at-bat, but wasn't tested in the field.

On a team with 20-plus strangers, it made him more comfortable that there were at least two people he's acquainted with.

"It's nice to have Mikie and Alex here," Duffy said. "I don't know them personally very well, but I'm familiar with them from playing against them. Everybody is new. I'm just trying to remember as many names as possible."

Duffy expects to play again in Charlotte today, with a tentative plan to join the Rays on a road trip next week. The decision on Mahtook is still day to day.

The plan for Cobb is still up in the air, he said. He said the timetable is moving slowly, but he's making progress.

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