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Cobb ready to return to rotation this week

ANAHEIM -- Alex Cobb appears ready to return to the Rays' rotation following his rehab start Saturday in Port Charlotte against the Clearwater Phillies.

"Yeah, I feel physically able to compete in a big league game for sure," said Cobb, who has been on the disabled list mending from a strained oblique since April 13.

Cobb's next outing likely will be in a Major League game. The questions yet to be answered are when he will make that start and what movements will take place on the roster to accommodate his return.

In theory, since Cobb pitched Saturday, he would be in line to pitch Thursday for the Rays. Currently the starter for that day has not yet been announced, though based on the rotation's current order, that would be Cesar Ramos' day. The Rays can go in a number of directions, which could affect Erik Bedard, Jake Odorizzi and Romero in some fashion. Rays manager Joe Maddon said he has not made a call on how the club plans to proceed, but he did note that he'll be happy to have Cobb back in the rotation.

Saturday, Cobb allowed no runs on three hits and no walks while striking out nine. Of the 64 pitches he threw, 46 were strikes.

"I went out there and threw all my pitches and didn't have any residual feelings of any pain coming back or any thoughts of pain coming back, so I was just out there being aggressive," Cobb said. "Everything was coming out good, so I was pleased with it."

Cobb planned to use a normal game plan Saturday, but because he faced Class A hitters, he adjusted accordingly.

"Guys are pretty aggressive down here, so you have to throw out of the zone a little bit," Cobb said. "That's all right, because I felt my fastball command was pretty good. The next thing is working on offspeed and getting them in the zone and out of the zone. I was happy with all three pitches."

Cobb called Saturday's outing a "normal game," and that meant different plays and scenarios occurring.

"I got a lot of runners on, so I got to work out of the stretch a lot," Cobb said. "I got to work out of the windup quite a bit, too. It went as good as planned."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for
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