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Cobb throws first live BP since Tommy John surgery

Special to MLB.com

ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays right-hander Alex Cobb threw live batting practice Saturday for the first time since he had Tommy John surgery last May.

It was the next step in what Cobb hopes will be a return to the rotation later this season. He threw 15 pitches -- all fastballs -- to live hitters off the mound. He also threw a 35-pitch warmup session.

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ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays right-hander Alex Cobb threw live batting practice Saturday for the first time since he had Tommy John surgery last May.

It was the next step in what Cobb hopes will be a return to the rotation later this season. He threw 15 pitches -- all fastballs -- to live hitters off the mound. He also threw a 35-pitch warmup session.

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"It's a not a feeling you can replicate any other time than when a batter is in there and you know he's swinging," Cobb said. "And then you know you're only throwing fastballs, and it gets a little scarier, so a little more adrenaline pumps up, but I'm very happy with how my arm felt."

Cobb is expecting to do at least two or three similar sessions on a five-day rotation, and if things go well he will begin to pitch in some rehab games. He admitted that he got a little tired after the session Saturday, but that was expected.

"You can run all you want, you can lift as many weights as you want, but you can't get that endurance built up until you start pitching," said Cobb. "I definitely got tired, but that's why we do them. That's why it takes so long, and that's why I probably won't be pitching for a while still."

Cobb added that he wasn't sure of his velocity, but he was eager to find out later. Thje right-hander was also happy with the control he had on the breaking balls and other offspeed pitches he threw during the warmup.

Cobb has not pitched in a Major League game since the 2014 season, when he went 10-9 with a 2.87 ERA in 27 starts. He began the 2015 season on the disabled list with forearm tendinitis, and in early May it was revealed that Cobb had a partial ligament tear in his right elbow.

Cobb had Tommy John surgery on May 14, 2015, with Dr. James Andrews performing the surgery. Cobb is hoping to return to the rotation in September.

"Every single step [in recovery], I look forward to," Cobb said. "I remember the first time I played catch, I was pumped. The first day I did long toss...the first day I stepped on the mound. So every day you have something to look forward to. Thankfully that's the case, because after 14 months, if you weren't looking forward to certain milestones, you'd go crazy."

Corey Long is a contributor to MLB.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tampa Bay Rays, Alex Cobb