Cobb takes next step in rehab from tendinitis
Right-hander throws from mound for first time in over a month
ST. PETERSBURG -- Alex Cobb reported no discomfort after throwing 21 fastballs in a bullpen session on Friday afternoon prior to the Rays' game with the Blue Jays at Tropicana Field.
The 27-year-old right-hander, who has been sidelined with forearm tendinitis since March 17, threw from an actual mound for the first time since tossing three scoreless innings in a Spring Training start against the Phillies.
"A huge day. I felt great. No issues. It's the first major step we're taking," said a visibly upbeat Cobb of his successful throwing session, which took place under the watchful eyes of pitching coach Jim Hickey and head trainer Ron Porterfield.
"You play catch for what feels like a whole month before you can even get the opportunity to get on the mound, so I feel like once you do step on the mound, you can see the light at the end of the tunnel and map out your progression, and get an idea of when you're going to be able to come back," said Cobb.
Prior to Friday's workout, Cobb had been limited to flat-ground sessions, so throwing from a mound provided the sense of normalcy that is critical to a pitcher's rehabilitation.
"You feel at home again. You feel comfortable," said Cobb. "When we get on the mound, it's going to tell us a lot about where we're actually at physically with the elbow because it's going to give that added torque of going down the hill."
And with added comfort comes increased effort, according to Cobb.
"You put a little more into it when you're on the mound. Your mechanics come together, and you try to reteach yourself how to pitch again.
"It's a big deal getting on there."
The next step in the process for Cobb will be flat-ground sessions featuring offspeed pitches, with the goal of returning to the mound to work exclusively on his offspeed arsenal.
"We'll start throwing some flat-ground offspeed pitches, probably starting [Saturday], and then work our way up hopefully in the next bullpen or the one after that [throwing] all offspeed."
Cobb has been assured that any setback he may encounter in the rehabilitation process will not be cause for concern, and that he is well on the way to returning to his customary spot in the Rays' starting rotation.