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Rays journal: Alex Cobb finds new level with pitches in final spring outing

Alex Cobb, who is scheduled to make his first regular-season start Wednesday, says he was able to execute some of his pitches exactly as he hoped.
Alex Cobb, who is scheduled to make his first regular-season start Wednesday, says he was able to execute some of his pitches exactly as he hoped.
Published Apr. 1, 2017

CLEARWATER — RHP Alex Cobb said he did have flashbacks to the last time he faced the Phillies in Clearwater. That was St. Patrick's Day, 2015, when the elbow woes that led to Tommy John surgery and two lost years began.

Like that day, Cobb was scheduled to pitch four innings. He even found himself dressing at the same locker when he arrived Friday at Spectrum Field.

Cobb left with much better results this time during a 55-pitch, 32/3-inning performance. He allowed a home run to SS Freddy Galvis in the fourth inning then said he found another level with his pitches, something he hadn't reached in some time.

"That was nice to feel," Cobb said. "Some of the pitches were exactly what I was looking for, and now it's time to think more about those and be able to repeat those 100 times."

The back tightness that forced him to skip his last start was not an issue. In fact, Cobb said passing on pitching in a minor-league game was "probably one of the smarter moves that I made in my career so far."

As for not having that long, 90-pitch outing this spring, Cobb said he did pitch into the sixth inning during his previous start, so that should suffice heading into his first start of the season Wednesday.

"If you can get six, you can get seven," Cobb said. "Very rarely are we getting past the seventh in the first week of the season or so."

Snell better

LHP Blake Snell allowed two runs on four hits in four innings.

"Still need to clean things up, but definitely happy with how I started, the way I finished. I progressed," Snell said. "I thought I did what I needed to do to be ready for the season. Now the true test begins and I'm excited for it."

Said manager Kevin Cash: "A little erratic, but hopefully when we get to a different stage we'll see a little more strikes."

Longo sits to be safe

3B Evan Longoria did not play because of lingering stiffness in his neck. He missed one other game this spring with the same issue.

Manager Kevin Cash said it wasn't serious, but why risk it.

"Give him two days off, let him quiet everything down. He's fine. He's good to go," Cash said. "He'll be in there on opening day."

More medical matters

RHP Shawn Tolleson will begin the year on the 60-day disabled list because of a right flexor strain, an injury that surfaced during his last outing March 23. Manager Kevin Cash said the team doesn't expect the injury to lead to surgery. "Not as of right now, no," Cash said. "He didn't have a normal spring workload-wise, so to be smart and build him back up, that probably makes the most sense." … OF Colby Rasmus (hip) will begin the year on the DL but won't be there for long. Cash said Rasmus is expected to play for Class A Charlotte when the Stone Crabs open their season Thursday. … RHP Brad Boxberger (right lat strain) hopes to resume throwing next week. … C Wilson Ramos (ACL surgery) was placed on the 60-day DL, a move that opens a spot on the 40-man roster and will keep Ramos out until at least June 1.

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Game stuff: Rays 7, Phillies 7

RF Steven Souza Jr. hit his second homer of the spring. … SS Tim Beckham tripled with the bases loaded in the fourth inning. … RF Peter Bourjos had two more hits. He is 6-for-9 since joining the Rays. … RHP Austin Pruitt had his worst outing of the spring. He faced four batters, walked two and allowed two doubles.

Kids' pep rally today

The Rays will hold a kids' pep rally today from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Tropicana Field during the team's optional workout. Admission is free. Kids 14 and under can run the bases after the workout.

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