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Rays' Alex Cobb opts for Tommy John surgery, out 'til late 2016

Alex Cobb, who was to be Tampa Bay’s opening day starter, instead won’t pitch for probably a year and a half. He’s slated for Tommy John surgery on a torn elbow ligament.
Alex Cobb, who was to be Tampa Bay’s opening day starter, instead won’t pitch for probably a year and a half. He’s slated for Tommy John surgery on a torn elbow ligament.
Published May 9, 2015

ST. PETERSBURG — The bad news Rays ace Alex Cobb received Thursday almost came as a relief.

He no longer wondered whether he should have season-ending Tommy John surgery. The full tear in his right (throwing) elbow made the decision easy.

Cobb announced Friday that specialist Dr. James Andrews will perform the procedure Thursday, likely sidelining Cobb until September 2016.

"It's a tough decision because you want to hold onto every last hope of being able to pitch this year and contribute," Cobb said, "but I think not only for my own future but going into next season and contributing for the team next year, better not to waste any more time. Just go ahead and do it."

The 27-year-old had hoped rest and a platelet-rich plasma injection would heal his arm. But the damage was more severe than first thought.

Cobb was initially diagnosed with tendinitis after leaving a March 17 spring training game. But baseball operations president Matt Silverman said the forearm strain masked an elbow injury. What was then believed to be a partial ligament tear was discovered to be a full tear, Cobb said.

Cobb had been leaning toward surgery, but when he heard the diagnosis Thursday, any lingering doubt was gone.

"I know the road I'm going on is a long road," Cobb said. "That's frustrating. I feel it's the prime of my career age-wise, and I want to go out there and perform and pitch."

Cobb was scheduled to be the leader of the Rays' staff and the team's opening day starter. Instead, he will try to return late next season so he's fully confident and comfortable heading into 2017.

Contact Matt Baker at mbaker@tampabay.com. Follow @MBakerTBTimes.

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