ST. PETERSBURG - RHP Alex Cobb fought his way back from a concussion and vertigo, yet it's a blister that has slowed his return to the rotation. "It sounds like kind of a wimpy injury, but it's a pitcher's kryptonite, it really is," Cobb said. Cobb, who has not pitched since taking a line drive off the side of his head June 15, will make a rehab start tonight in Port Charlotte for the Class A Stone Crabs. He's scheduled to throw four innings or 65 pitches. This is Cobb's second go at the minor league rehab process. His first, July 23, was stopped after two pitches because of a blister on his right index finger. He didn't throw without wearing a protective covering on the blister until Wednesday.
"That tells you the power of the blister," manager Joe Maddon said. "When pitchers get blisters, man, it can really make a big difference." Cobb said he's tried ointments and laser therapy to toughen the skin. He's even soaked his finger in pickle brine. "It's not an easy thing to figure out," Cobb said. "It's something that we've tried different things, we won't know until we put together a consistent number of pitches, ups and down, humidity mixed in. There's a lot of factors we have to deal with before we know whether we fixed it or not. It's not like you can go rehab a blister. There's nothing you can do." Cobb said he also added more green vegetables to his diet. "I thought that was kind of the cause of it, because I didn't eat too many green vegetables early in my life," he said. Cobb said the blister was the result of pitching in the humidity in Port Charlotte. He threw a simulated game there five days before his shortened start. But Cobb, who grew up in Vero Beach, said he never developed blisters on his pitching hand until he reached pro ball. "It's nothing you can pitch around," he said. "It's there every pitch on every different pitch. You can't alter arm angles, alter different ways to pitch. That's the last place the ball leaves your body and you feel it every time if there's a blister. It's a tough thing to happen." A chat with Longo Maddon said he talked with 3B Evan Longoria earlier this week about Longoria's slump. "I just had my little things I wanted to talk to him about. That's all," Maddon said. "Just things I've been thinking about. Just gave him my impressions and see if I can help at all." Longoria extended his hitless streak during the homestand during his first three at-bats Friday to 0-for-11 with a fly out and two strikeouts. Both strikeouts came with two runners on base, That's pitching LHP David Price, who faces the Giants tonight, led the major leagues in wins (five) and complete games (three) in July. He became the first American League pitcher since 1921 to record at least 35 strikeouts and no more than one walk in any month of the season. Joe Gnome II The first 10,000 fans through the doors tonight will receive a Joe Maddon Gnome, a giveaway that is back this season by popular demand. "It is gnome squared," Maddon said. "I'm so humbled by the whole thing. I'm actually speechless. The first time is one thing, but to have it clamored for and have it come back again brings you to your knees." Noteworthy The Rays recalled OF Brandon Guyer (broken finger) and placed him on the major league roster's disabled list. ... LHP Matt Moore (sore left elbow) said he expects to resume throwing Sunday. ... RHP Brandon Gomes (strained right lat) pitched a scoreless inning Thursday for Triple-A Durham. ... Due to its success, the Rays are discussing another $2 kids tickets promo this season. Approximately 9,700 were sold for Wednesday's game.