Tampa Bay Rays
Rays notes: Cobb's first outing of spring pain free
PORT CHARLOTTE - RHP Alex Cobb wasn't as sharp Monday as he would have liked, but he was healthy, and that was good enough for Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon. "My major concern was that he felt well, and he did," Maddon said after Cobb pitched 11/3 innings and allowed a run on a bases-loaded walk in the Rays' 3-1 loss to the Orioles. Cobb, who last pitched in a big-league game Aug. 6 and had season-ending surgery 12 days later to remove a blood clot and his first right rib, said it felt "weird" to pitch in a real game. "You can simulate it all you want," he said. "There's fans, your adrenalin gets going a little bit. You got to figure out how to make adjustments when that's going, and I wasn't able to do that."Maddon said that is normal for a young pitcher who gets too caught up in the result when the process is the most important aspect of the day. Cobb did admit he achieved one goal Monday. "My first outing in spring training I did not want to feel anything," he said. "Whether I pitch good or bad I did not want it to have to do with my physical ability, and everything I was looking for, strength and pain were all normal. It's just mental adjustments and tweaks starting now." Longo not quite ready to return 3B Evan Longoria (bruised right hand) wasn't able to swing pain-free Monday, so he cut short his batting practice and pushed back his target date to return to the lineup. "Took a couple of swings, shut it down. A day or two more," he said. Maddon said head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield isn't pleased with the discoloration and swelling that remain in Longoria's hand, so he won't be in today's lineup against the Twins as originally expected. "Ronnie wants to make sure that even though he can play, that he can swing without any kind of restriction at all," Maddon said. "Where as he might aggravate something and make it become more of a setback. He's coming along great. He's fine. But Ronnie just wants to hold back a little bit longer." More injury news DH Luke Scott (right shoulder), OF Sam Fuld (right wrist) and 1B Carlos Peña (needed more time to get ready) took live batting practice Monday morning off RHP Kyle Farnsworth and RHP Brandon Gomes. Peña is scheduled to play today. Scott and Fuld could join the lineup later in the week. "Since getting a couple of days rest, (the wrist) has been pretty good," Fuld said. "It's pain free." Farnsworth, who is being brought along slowly this spring, and Gomes (minor back surgery) threw well Monday. "Everything felt great. My arm feels totally normal," said Gomes, who will throw another round of live BP on Thursday before pitching in a game this weekend. Lost and found Maddon said he asked the visiting clubhouse manager at Fenway Park last September to leave a bottle of wine for Orioles manager Buck Showalter, who was to occupy the office the next day. It was Maddon's way of thanking Showalter for the tough time the Orioles were giving the Red Sox. Showalter said Monday he never received the bottle. "The clubby was a little tipsy when we got in that day, I don't know," Showalter said. "Knowing Joe, I'm sure it was a real good bottle, too. I don't think it's Mogen David or ripple or anything." Noteworthy During BP the Rays wore the same white T-shirts with the word "Madness" printed in green on the front that were given to USF fans at Saturday's men's basketball game against West Virginia. It was the Rays' way of supporting the Bulls' chase for an NCAA tournament bid. LHP David Price wore a shirt but donned a Vanderbilt cap. … Today is the 25th anniversary of the first spring training game played at what is now Charlotte Sports Park. … 3B coach Tom Foley was benched in the eighth inning of Monday's loss as the Rays looked for a way to score some runs. At that point, their only hit was a first-inning double by 2B Ben Zobrist. … Today's game with the Twins will be shown on MLB Network. … INF Elliot Johnson joined the ESPN "Baseball Tonight" crew Monday and imitated analyst Tim Kurkjian.