Rays at Angels: McClanahan vs. old friend Cobb, with a twist

The lefty from USF was drafted by the Rays with a compensation pick due to Alex Cobb’s departure as a free agent.
Alex Cobb came up with the Rays and pitched six seasons in Tampa Bay.
Alex Cobb came up with the Rays and pitched six seasons in Tampa Bay. [ Times (2017) ]
Published May 4, 2021|Updated May 5, 2021

The Rays will see a familiar face on the mound tonight when Alex Cobb starts for the Angels in the 9:38 p.m. game in Anaheim.

Cobb came up with the Rays and pitched six seasons in Tampa Bay, going 48-35, 3.50 in 115 starts and missing the 2015 season after undergoing Tommy John elbow surgery. He left the Rays after the 2017 season and eventually signed a big-bucks, free-agent deal with the Orioles, getting $57 million over four years.

The Rays got an additional pick in the 2018 draft as compensation for losing Cobb and used that pick, No. 31 overall, to select USF lefty Shane McClanahan, who will start tonight against Cobb.

Also Tuesday:

* The Rays put right-hander Michael Wacha on the 10-day injured list with right hamstring tightness and activated right-hander Collin McHugh, who had been on the injured list with a back strain.

* Angels manager Joe Maddon said Shohei Ohtani felt good enough to take the mound on Wednesday against the Rays and likely will hit in that game, as well. Ohtani was to start Monday but was scratched due to soreness in his right elbow after being hit by a pitch on Sunday. Ohtani was the DH on Monday, hitting a long homer off Tyler Glasnow, and will be the DH again Tuesday.

* First baseman Ji-Man Choi started a week-long stay with Triple-A Durham to rehab his right knee, with the potential of being activated when the Rays return home next week.

This will be McClanahan’s second start and regular-season appearance, as he made his historic debut in the 2020 postseason. He worked four innings against the A’s on Thursday, allowing two runs and five hits but dazzled with his high-velocity stuff and strike-throwing.

Cobb was traded to the Angels, reuniting there with former Rays manager Joe Maddon in February, with the Orioles paying $10 million of the $15 million remaining on his contract. He battled injuries and inconsistency with Baltimore, going 7-22, 5.10 over three seasons.

Cobb was known for his professionalism and intensity with the Rays. Veteran Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier, who played with Cobb for several seasons, expects a good matchup. Cobb is 1-1, 7.16 this season in four starts, allowing 24 hits in 16-1/3 innings while striking out 23.

“I‘ve already faced him a couple times in Baltimore, so it won’t be as weird,” Kiermaier said. “But you know what? Cobber Dobber, that’s what everyone called him, he was great to me from the start. He always treated me great, always had nice things to say about me, and he loved when I played out there behind him. So I always tell the pitchers, I’m trying to be your favorite centerfielder that’s ever played behind you.

“He always spoke highly of me, so always a big fan of Alex Cobb, and I’m glad he’s doing well. But we’re going to try to kick his butt whenever we face him. And he’s going to try to give us his best, as well.”

Here is the Rays lineup:

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