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Rays shut down Cobb to deal with fatigue, mechanical issues

Alex Cobb, on his way back from elbow surgery, is dealing with arm fatigue and mechanical issues.
Published Jul. 20, 2016

DENVER — The Rays decided to give RHP Alex Cobb more time now to deal with arm fatigue and mechanical issues to make sure he doesn't run out of time at the back end of his rehab from Tommy John surgery.

The Rays returned Cobb from his rehab assignment and essentially stopped the 30-day clock, thus, given a mandatory seven-day wait, postponing his next start until at least Monday. Cobb left his second rehab start July 11 after one inning, so he will go at least two full weeks between games. He is scheduled to throw a bullpen session today at the Trop, then possibly a live batting practice next.

"He's had some fatigue issues in his arm, and that, along with working with his mechanics, we felt this was the right time to do it," manager Kevin Cash said. "We want to make sure he gets his full rehab and can work through the process at his pace a little bit."

The pause can last as long as needed, with Cobb then starting a new 30-day window, pushing his targeted return back to at least mid August. After the 30 days, a player has to either be activated (and could be optioned to the minors) or returned to the DL.

The Rays and Cobb say there is no concern of injury.

FAMILIAR LOOK: With CF Kevin Kiermaier returning Friday and INF Steve Pearce being activated Tuesday from the DL, the Rays lineup is starring to look whole again.

"Obviously there are some more guys we need to get healthy, but we're getting closer to the lineup and the options maybe that we envisioned coming out of spring training," Cash said. "The secret that we really don't know how to do is keep them on the field — hopefully we will figure that out."

Pearce was in the lineup playing first base Tuesday, the game delayed more than two hours due to rain, with first pitch at 10:41 Tampa Bay time.

SMYLY A GO: LHP Drew Smyly's frustration over another poor outing showed a bit in the dugout tunnel Monday night, with a broken bat a day-after residual.

But Cash said there is no plan, or even discussion, about dropping Smyly from the rotation despite his 2-11 record and 5.64 ERA that is the highest of all major-leaguers with at least 90 innings.

"Actually we talked to Drew (Tuesday), checked in, we had a good conversation," Cash said. "Drew is trying to work through this. He knows he's in a funk. At different parts of the season, I think different things have kind of left him, different pitches that he hasn't been able to find. … We're excited to get his work in and to see him back out there Saturday in Oakland."

NICK OF TIME: The decision to create roster space for Steve Pearce's return by sending down INF Nick Franklin, rather than, say, INF Tim Beckham, appeared rooted in playing time.

In short, Franklin will get more of it with Triple-A Durham, including additional work in the outfield to continue his development into a superutility player, than he would in the majors, especially with Pearce and Kiermaier back.

"Right now we're getting a little crunched in the outfield, and finding him time in the infield would be difficult, also," Cash said.

REHAB REPORT: The reports on RHPs Brad Boxberger (oblique) and Chase Whitley (Tommy John surgery) were good from their first rehab outings Monday, Cash said. Boxberger will pitch Thursday for the advanced Class A Stone Crabs, Whitley likely Saturday.

MISCELLANY: 3B Evan Longoria hit a massive homer in the fourth Tuesday, estimated at 462 feet. … Longoria had his first career two-triple game in Monday's 7-4 loss. He is the first player since the Rockies' Larry Walker in 1996 to have back-to-back multi-homer and multi-triple games. … OF Brandon Guyer, thanks to an instant replay review, was hit by a pitch Monday for his MLB-leading 21st time. … The Rays' 4-25 run was the worst 29-game stretch by an AL team since the 2011 Twins. … Kiermaier marveled at how the ball carried in the Denver altitude and said he would adjust his routes accordingly.

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