ST. PETERSBURG — Tampa Bay Rays RHP Alex Cobb makes his final start tonight before the All-Star break with mixed feelings.
He's happy for the time off, but after having the first half of his season interrupted by an injury, he kind of wishes he could continue to pitch because he feels he has finally found a rhythm.
“I love days off,” Cobb said. “I'm trying not to look at it as, 'I'm starting to feel a lot better on the mound and now I'm going to have a long layoff,' as much as, 'Take away what you can from the first half, go into the break, try to stay as sharp as you can and rest up as well.' ”
Cobb faces the Royals for the first time since he was struck on the side of his head with a line drive on June 15, 2013, and missed 50 games with a concussion. He was happy with the first five innings he pitched during his most recent start, Friday in Detroit. The game got away from him in the sixth when he hit Ian Kinsler, then allowed two walks and a run-scoring single and left with the bases loaded and no one out.
Cobb said he thinks he's finally getting into a groove associated with being in the rotation and now recognizes when his mechanics are out of sync. He is able to correct the issue sooner than when he first returned to the rotation after missing 35 games with a strained left oblique.
He enters tonight's game 4-6 with a 4.28 ERA in 12 starts. He has won his past two starts.
“The first half didn't go the way I would have liked for it to have gone,” Cobb said. “I still have another half of the year of starts, so I can only be excited about the second half.”
RF Wil Myers will have his right wrist examined Friday. If the doctor feels the broken bone has healed and the cast can come off, the best-case scenario would have Myers returning in mid-August, according to manager Joe Maddon.
OF David DeJesus (left hand fracture), who along with Myers and INF Jerry Sands ran the bases Tuesday afternoon, could return by the beginning of August, Maddon said.
SS Yunel Escobar (sore right shoulder) played all nine innings Tuesday night at Single-A Charlotte. He was 1-for-4 with a single and a run. Escobar will DH tonight for the Stone Crabs and is on schedule to return Friday.
Slow down, kid
Rookie RF Kevin Kiermaier has wowed Rays followers with his highlight-show catches. He also has caused his coaches to wince with some of his throws to the infield.
Kiermaier has the best arm among Rays outfielders. Sometimes his throws are a little too strong, causing them to be off line.
“It's the over-exuberant arm,” Maddon said. “It's the 'I got this great tool I want to show it arm.' It's great. He's got a great arm and he's got a quick release, too. I'd like to see him throw a football, because he's got a quick release. Now it's a matter of harnessing it a bit. Know when to not let the trail runner grab that extra bag. Know when you have a shot, when you don't have a shot.”
Maddon said Kiermaier has been made aware of this by the coaching staff.
“We'll be able to bring him back down a little bit,” Maddon said, “but I don't want to bridle him too much, because this guy is special and he can be even more special as he gains more experience.”
SS Ben Zobrist added 24 points to his batting average and 63 points to his on-base plus slugging percentage during the 10 games prior to Tuesday. ... The Rays are planning a Dave Wills/Andy Freed figurine giveaway for later this season. ... RHP Ryan Stanek, the 29th overall pick in the 2013 pick, made his Stone Crabs debut Tuesday. He allowed four hits and a run in six innings, earning the victory in the 4-1 win against Jupiter.