Cobb eager to return to form with Halos

February 19th, 2021

After posting a 5.10 ERA during his three seasons with the Orioles, right-hander made it his mission this offseason to improve his mechanics and get his career back on track.

Cobb, acquired by the Angels in a Feb. 2 trade, worked hard to refine his delivery after he found he was opening up too early and needed to better sync his lower half. He visited Driveline Baseball in Seattle to learn more about how to improve his mechanics and credited the performance training center for teaching him new drills to get his delivery back in order.

"I just didn't perform, so there are things I worked on this offseason,” Cobb said. “Over the last years, it was never a lack of commitment or lack of effort. Things weren't always clicking on every cylinder. I had some injuries I had to hurdle to fight to get back on the field. But I went to Driveline this offseason to get back to that form. I'm excited for this season. Physically, I still believe I am capable of all those things."

Cobb also explained that the changes he’s made this offseason were not to regain velocity -- although he’d take that as a byproduct -- but simply about getting his delivery and mechanics back to where they were early in his career.

Before his tenure with the Orioles, Cobb was a solid starter for the Rays for six seasons, posting a 3.50 ERA in 700 innings from 2011-17. Angels manager Joe Maddon was Cobb's skipper from '11-14, and the two have a strong relationship.

Maddon believes Cobb, 33, can make an improvement similar to Dylan Bundy, who had a 4.67 ERA in five seasons with Baltimore before turning it around with the Angels with a 3.29 ERA last season.

"He's pitched a lot in the [American League] East so I do think a different division [can help him]," Maddon said. "With him, it's about his variety of pitches and competing and simplifying, which I cannot be more in agreement with. But a change of scenery, whether it's the venue itself, or just in general, I think it's going to benefit him."

Cobb is excited about that change of scenery, especially joining an Angels club he believes can be in postseason contention this year. The nine-year veteran has only made the playoffs once -- he had a 1.54 ERA in 11 2/3 innings during the 2013 postseason -- and wants to be a part of that again.

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"When you get to Spring Training and you know they're in compete mode and going for it, you can't help but be excited at that point," Cobb said. "We're going to have a very good clubhouse from a mixture of veteran players and younger players. Just from what I’ve seen and the personalities we have, it's going to be a fun clubhouse to be a part of."

Angels tidbits
is wearing a special band over his right arm to monitor the stress levels in his elbow while throwing bullpen sessions. Ohtani underwent Tommy John surgery that kept him from pitching in 2019 and made just two starts in ’20 before being shut down with a forearm/elbow strain. Ohtani also met with Maddon on Thursday to reiterate that communication will be key this year, especially considering the Angels want to be more aggressive with Ohtani.

"I really want to help him understand that I want him to take more charge and command of his career," Maddon said. "I think coming from Japan, he comes from such a respectful background and authority figures aren’t questioned maybe as much as over here. ... It's not disrespectful to voice your concerns and really be proactive in your own career."

• Left-handed reliever remains sidelined with a right hip infection but Maddon said Claudio is improving. The hope is he'll only be out a few weeks.

"He's doing better, but I don't have a return-to-duty time," Maddon said. "The pain has been ameliorated, whatever caused it. But I still don't have a timeframe for when he'll be in the building."

• Right-hander came into camp noticeably trimmer than last season and said he’s down 20 pounds. Peña has experience as a starter and a reliever but is expected to be used out of the bullpen this year, just like in 2020. Peña posted a 4.05 ERA in 26 2/3 innings last season.