ST. PETERSBURG -- Alex Cobb and Brad Boxberger are valuable pitchers on the Rays' staff. While each is in a different stage of their comebacks, both appear to be making progress at this juncture.Cobb had season-ending Tommy John surgery in May 2015 and is tentatively scheduled to return to the
ST. PETERSBURG -- Alex Cobb and Brad Boxberger are valuable pitchers on the Rays' staff. While each is in a different stage of their comebacks, both appear to be making progress at this juncture.
Cobb had season-ending Tommy John surgery in May 2015 and is tentatively scheduled to return to the team by late July or early August.
Currently, Cobb is building up arm strength throwing bullpen sessions, which is the program he'll follow until he begins to face hitters in June. He allowed that he's beginning to feel more familiar with throwing a baseball.
Even in Spring Training, when he's not returning from an injury, "It takes a good eight to 10 bullpens before I'm feeling like I know how to pitch again," Cobb said. "I'm very happy with how quickly I've gotten to the point I'm at already."
Cobb noted that he's been able to isolate his thinking to solely mechanics and nothing else.
"I'm not worried about my elbow, I'm not worried about the way the ball is coming out," Cobb said. "I'm worried about how my mechanics line up to make the pitches do what I want them to do. That's a great sign. It's a good sign for me mentally to just be focusing on that instead of the other stuff that goes along with the surgery."
Boxberger (adductor surgery), who led the American League in saves with 41 last season, said he visited the Philadephia doctor who performed his surgery on Monday. That visit went well, and now he has clearance to resume full baseball activity.
When asked if he still feels as though he'll be back with the team by mid-May, Boxberger replied, "Yeah."
Rays manager Kevin Cash smiled about the news.
"We had a really good report, from what I heard from [head athletic trainer] Ron [Porterfield,]" Cash said. "And talking to Box, he seemed excited. ... He's eager to get back out there, which is great. We expect a lot of big things when he gets back."
Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.