Rays' Alex Cobb out 4-6 weeks

Alex Cobb says he felt discomfort after facing the leadoff batter Saturday but didn’t think much of it and wound up throwing seven shutout innings.
Alex Cobb says he felt discomfort after facing the leadoff batter Saturday but didn’t think much of it and wound up throwing seven shutout innings.
Published April 14, 2014

CINCINNATI — The discomfort on his left side is really not bad. What really hurt Rays RHP Alex Cobb Sunday was the diagnosis that he had a strained oblique and will be sidelined at least four-six weeks.

"Very disappointed," Cobb said. "That's been the hardest part for me to really grasp and kind of understand because it doesn't feel like that lengthy of an injury."

Cobb admitted that he "felt something grab" on his final pitch Saturday to Reds leadoff man Billy Hamilton. But he thought it was just a cramp or a slight pull and went on to throw 82 more pitches over seven impressive innings, feeling more pain between pitches than during, before finally taking himself out of the game. He thought he might miss at most one start.

But the Rays sensed worse, put him on the disabled list (so they could bolster their bullpen) and Sunday morning sent him back to St. Petersburg for an MRI exam, which revealed the strain.

Cobb said Sunday night that he did not think swinging or running to first had anything to do with the injury, or made it worse. He had a similar injury near the end of minor-league spring training 2010 and missed the first month at Double-A Montgomery.

Cobb said knowing LHP Matt Moore is also out for an extended period made him feel even worse.

"That's definitely been the toughest part for me to have to handle right now, really feeling like I let some of the guys down," Cobb said. "And I have to get past that and realize that there's nothing I could have done to prevent this."

The Rays called up LHP Jeff Beliveau to pitch an inning in relief Sunday, then optioned him back to Triple-A Durham. They will call up another reliever today, likely RHP Brad Boxberger or RHP Kirby Yates.

DOUBLE DEEP: Switch-hitting 2B/OF Ben Zobrist said he didn't realize at the time that he'd made history, homering from both sides of the plate in a game for the first time at any level. "I wish the circumstances were a little bit different, but it's still pretty cool to be able to say that I did that in a big-league game," he said. "I'm excited about that."

PITCHING IN: RHP Joel Peralta was unavailable for a second day, sidelined by what manager Joe Maddon described as "a little feverish kind of thing." … Moore may test his injured left elbow by playing catch today in Baltimore, a potentially important step in deciding whether surgery is necessary. … RHP Jeremy Hellickson, targeting an early June return from arthroscopic elbow surgery, is looking to throw off the mound for the first time Tuesday.

TWO FOR ONE: A routine ground ball to short with Reds on second and third in the second innin led to an odd double play in which C Ryan Hanigan made both outs.

SS Yunel Escobar fielded LHP Tony Cingrani's grounder and threw home to get Devin Mesoraco. Then when Cingrani rounded first and the Rays ran him down, Zack Cozart tried to score. 1B Sean Rodriguez threw home and Hanigan tagged him out.

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There were two double plays last season, according to Elias, where a catcher recorded both putouts: Detroit's Alex Avila, vs. the Rays; and Colorado's Yorvit Torrealba, vs. the Padres.

MISCELLANY: Maddon batted pitcher Cesar Ramos eighth, the second time he has employed that strategy in an NL game, because he liked the way it set up the rest of the order. … The Rays are 3-3 on the road trip thus far despite scoring only 13 runs. … The Rays are the first AL team to log two 1-0 wins in their first 12 games since the 1986 Royals, and the first MLB team since the 1973 Cubs (and fourth overall in the past 100 years) to do so on the road.