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Rays, injured ace Alex Cobb to discuss plans

Alex Cobb appears intent on trying to pitch through a partial tear in a ligament in his right elbow.
Alex Cobb appears intent on trying to pitch through a partial tear in a ligament in his right elbow.
Published May 7, 2015

BOSTON — Rays officials will meet today with RHP Alex Cobb to discuss plans for him to try pitching with a partial tear in his elbow ligament.

Cobb received a PRP injection from Dr. James Andrews after getting the diagnosis. Under the platelet-rich plasma therapy protocol, Cobb is expected to rest for a week, then spend a second week limited to light throwing, so it could be close to a month before they get a sense of if, or how much, it has helped.

Cobb could elect at any point to go ahead and have Tommy John surgery, which would sideline him for most, and possibly all, of the 2016 season.

Hall of Fame electee and MLB Network analyst John Smoltz, who pitched in the 1999 season with a partial tear before needing surgery the next season, said he is glad to see Cobb trying it.

"It's an individual decision. He knows how to pitch, and whether or not it affects him from the feel-and-touch pitches," Smoltz said on MLB Tonight. "He's primarily a fastball-changeup guy, so maybe he can get away with it more."

Plus, Smoltz said, Cobb has little to lose: "When you think about decisions of Tommy John now, you're pretty much going to lose next year anyway, so why not try it and why not see how far you can get."

Rays officials, who have not publicly discussed the diagnosis, are expected to provide an update today, and Cobb may have his first comments.

TEXAS TWO-STEP: Before Kevin Cash got hired as the Rays' manager in December, he interviewed for the Texas job and was a surprise finalist after a strong showing.

Though part of his preparation was researching and evaluating the Rangers' personnel, Cash said that won't be of much benefit in managing against them in the four-game series that starts tonight at the Trop.

"It's kind of a different thought process," he said. "You're not (advance scouting) the team, you're trying to get a brief sense of their players. … I don't look at that as being an advantage whatsoever. I don't."

Though the Rangers chose Jeff Banister, Cash, who had only two seasons of experience as a coach on the Cleveland staff, said being interviewed in Texas was a benefit when the Rays called.

"In a way they helped me even that much more to prepare for the situation in Tampa (Bay)," Cash said. "Probably just the confidence from doing it. Going through the process, I felt really good."

MORE MEDICAL: LHP Jake McGee (left elbow surgery) came through his Tuesday rehab appearance at Triple-A Durham well but seems likely to make three more for the Bulls, at least one where he works part of two innings. On that schedule, he wouldn't rejoin the Rays until the May 15-20 trip to Minnesota and Atlanta. … INF Nick Franklin (oblique) was 0-for-2 with two walks as the Bulls' DH in his second rehab game. He was briefly checked by the team trainer after a swing but stayed in the game. He is scheduled for 20-30 at-bats before rejoining the Rays, likely in place of Jake Elmore.

LINING UP: With OF Steven Souza Jr. out of the lineup Wednesday for a planned day off (despite getting two hits in each of the two previous games following an 0-for-17), Cash opted to put Brandon Guyer in rightfield, based on his speed, and rookie Joey Butler in left. Though playing the Green Monster is tricky, Butler did have the benefit of playing in front of the similar blue wall at Durham.

MISCELLANY: The Rays had their first multi-error game of the season, the last team to do so. … They face the American League West's Rangers tonight after playing their past 22 games, and 25 of 28 total, against AL East foes. … RHP Grant Balfour allowed one hit in a scoreless inning at Durham, his first outing since re-signing on a minor-league deal.