Cobb needs hip surgery, will miss rest of 2019

Orioles announce wave of Draft signings headlined by fourth-rounder

June 11th, 2019

BALTIMORE -- Whatever else happens for the Orioles this season, they are not getting their ace back.

Baltimore's executive vice president and general manager, Mike Elias, said Tuesday that Alex Cobb will undergo season-ending hip surgery this week, truncating his 2019 campaign after just three starts. Dr. J.W. Thomas Byrd will perform the operation in Nashville, Tenn., to correct a femoroacetabular impingement in Cobb’s right hip, which Elias described as, “Some boney outgrowth that’s rubbing up against some soft tissue.”

Elias said Cobb is also dealing with a knee issue that may require surgery, but did not provide further details about that ailment. He said Cobb is expected to be fully recovered by the start of Spring Training.

“While he probably could try to pitch right now, it’s clear he hasn’t been 100 percent,” Elias said. “It’s more important to us we get this issue corrected at the right time.”

At the very least, it provides answers for what has been a trying second season in Baltimore for Cobb, who is now effectively halfway through a four-year, $57-million contract. Baltimore’s scheduled Opening Day starter, Cobb missed that assignment and began the season nursing a right groin strain, then returned to the injured list after one start due to lower back spasms. Two starts later, he was placed on the IL, where he’s been since April 27 with a lumbar strain.

All told, Cobb went 0-2 with a 10.95 ERA across three starts, allowing more home runs (9) than strikeouts (8) in 12 1/3 innings.

“All of his issues were in the lower back/groin/hip region; it all seems to be pain extending from this issue in his hip,” Elias said. “Obviously the timing is unfortunate. It took us by surprise in Spring Training. We thought he might have had it licked when he came back and tried to pitch.”

The 31-year-old is 53-52 with a 3.85 ERA in eight Major League seasons with the Orioles and Rays, also missing much of '15 and '16 due to Tommy John surgery. If healthy, Cobb would have qualified as a potential trade candidate for a club looking to sell in bulk at this year’s non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Baltimore starters entered play Tuesday sporting a collective 5.42 staff ERA, fifth worst in baseball, largely amassed with Cobb on the shelf.

“I’m disappointed he can’t pitch for us this year,” Elias said. “Starting pitching, while its been good lately, and the most recent stretch in Texas has been encouraging, its not our greatest area of depth or strength. Having him atop our rotation would’ve been huge.”

From the trainers' room
A decision looms for the Orioles regarding Mark Trumbo, who will continue his rehab assignment with Triple-A Norfolk after being evaluated by the club’s medical staff Monday. Trumbo, who is recovering from right knee surgery, had played in seven total rehab games as of Tuesday, three at Double-A Bowie and four at Norfolk. His assignment can run through Sunday at maximum, per MLB rules.

“We’ve been seeing some good things from him down there,” Elias said. “But we’re going to have to complete the entire rehab process before putting too much judgment on it, because these things can have their ups and downs. But the fact that he’s out there playing right now is a good thing. This has been a long, arduous affair for him. The fact that he’s this far is good, but we still have a ways to go.”

The next class
The Orioles announced a wave of Draft signingsTuesday, headlined by fourth-round pick Joey Ortiz, a shortstop from New Mexico State University who will report to Low-A Aberdeen.

The club also signed outfielder Johnny Rizer (7th round), RHP Griffin McLarty (8th), catcher Jordan Cannon (10th), CF Mason Janvrin (14th), RHP Kyle Martin (15th), RHP Shelton Perkins (16th), RHP Morgan McSweeney (17th), RHP Malachi Emond (18th), RHP Clayton McGinness (20th), 3B Toby Welk (21st), CF Shayne Fontana (23rd), RHP Garrett Farmer (25th), RHP Nick Roth (26th), LHP Dillon McCollough (27th), RHP Jonathan Pendergast (28th), LHP Dalton Stambaugh (30th), catcher Harris Yett (32nd), CF Craig Lewis (33rd), OF Trevor Kehe (36th), and undrafted free agent James Ryan, a right-handed pitcher.

Elias indicated that negotiations with the club’s higher-ranked prospects, including No. 1 overall pick, Adley Rutschman, wouldn’t begin in earnest until a later date.

“Obviously there are some big fish left,” Elias said. “That will take a little bit of work, but I still feel good about everything.”