ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Alex Cobb threw approximately 50 pitches today between his simulated game and a bullpen session, and is expected to come off the injured list to start Friday night’s game against the Twins at Camden Yards.
Cobb went on the injured list retroactive to April 6 with a lumbar strain, but he no longer is experiencing back spasms and should be cleared to rejoin the rotation for the weekend series.
“Alex feels really good, so he should be ready to go starting in the Minnesota series,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “No problem with the back and looked really, really sharp in his live BP this afternoon.”
Hyde also checked on pitchers Richard Bleier and Nate Karns and designated hitter Mark Trumbo, who made the drive from Sarasota and visited the clubhouse. Trumbo attended the hitters’ meeting held before batting practice.
Bleier and Karns will throw bullpen sessions on Wednesday.
“Rich feels a lot better. Both of those guys are throwing a bullpen tomorrow, so they’re making progress,” Hyde said. “I think they’re both going to freshen up and getting healthier. Good to see Mark Trumbo today. It’s awesome to have him around. Looking forward to having Mark back sometime this summer, and hopefully Rich and Nate won’t be too long.”
Trumbo tried to get ready for opening day following a complicated knee procedure in September to repair the cartilage, but he had to be shut down and start over.
“We’ve been making good progress,” he said “It’s mainly strength building-type stuff, which was kind of what I said that we were going to target coming out of spring training. I’m going about six days a week, as aggressive as we can, but happy with what we’ve seen.”
Baseball activities will be integrated into his daily routine.
“I’ve been throwing a lot, but I haven’t really started hitting yet,” he said. “I think that’ll come at some point down the road, but I think we really want to get on top of some of those weaknesses that kind of were holding me back.”
Trumbo is in the final year of his contract and doesn’t have a timetable for getting back on the active roster. He has to be patient, no matter how difficult.
The surgery and recovery leave no alternative. And it doesn’t matter that the club is only three games below .500 and in second place. He can’t be rushed.
“It’s tough, but I am very happy with how things have gone here,” he said. “I think the guys are playing really well. I see a lot of the things that we kind of set out in spring as far as the aggressiveness. Very resilient. Bad game here or there and they’re right back and winning two more, so I’m really happy and pleased.”
Trumbo enjoyed the chance to be back in the clubhouse break from his daily routine.
“Bleier and Nate and I were talking the other day,” he said. “It’s cool just to come mix it up. It’s a different vibe down there, but this is where you want to be.”
The drive to St. Petersburg also allowed Trumbo to be around some guys who are closer to his age rather than a collection of minor leaguers, including players waiting for the short-season games to start.
“It’s a little bit hard to relate,” he said, smiling. “I’m 15 years older than some of those guys. I do what I can. They probably look at me more as an older guy or something, you know? But that is the reality.
“A lot of them have some pretty good questions. I remember being there when I got drafted, and it’s kind of your first taste and you don’t really know what you’re doing yet. If I can help them, I’m milling the cage and doing some other stuff, so it’s been fun.”
Hyde noticed some changes to Tropicana Field since his last visit with the Cubs, including the new turf and LED lights.
The biggest change for Hyde is he’s no longer serving as an acting manager, as he did for the Marlins on June 19, 2011 following the surprise resignation of manager Edwin Rodríguez. Hyde was the bench coach until having Rodríguez’s duties thrust upon him.
“I’ve always liked The Trop, to be honest with you,” Hyde said. “We played here in ‘17, I made my managerial debut here two hours before game time. We lost 2-1 to Joe (Maddon), James Shields versus Chris Volstad. So that’s a pretty cool memory I have. But yeah, I’ve always liked it here.”
Those memories came flooding back last night after the Orioles arrived at their hotel and continued today upon his arrival at The Trop, which now has a capacity of 25,000. The 2011 game with Hyde as acting manager attracted more than 26,000.
“I have some pictures, but I don’t know if I have any baseballs or anything like that,” he said.
“That was just a strange day because our manager quit two hours before the game, and all of a sudden, you’re managing a major league game, and it was Father’s Day on top of it, so there were a lot of things going on.
“It was just so last-minute rushed. It was just a strange morning to say the least. It was a day game. It stunk because I really liked the manager I was the bench coach for. Now all these things are in limbo, you don’t know what’s going on. We had like 15 guys hurt. It was unbelievable. We were on a terrible losing streak. We lost like 14 out of 15 and half our club was on the DL. Just a really weird time.”
As Hyde remembers it, Rodríguez decided he no longer wanted the job without telling anyone. He just left.
“I was doing all my stuff and getting ready for the game and I go in and he’s not in the manager’s office,” Hyde said. “We were wondering where he was and next thing you know we found out that he wasn’t here. He had taken off. So we had a little coaching staff meeting and here we go.”
Framed photos of every manager hang on the wall in Hyde’s office at The Trop. A second one of Hyde hangs next to his locker - capturing him arguing with an umpire yesterday at Fenway Park that led to his second career ejection.
“Pretty cool,” he said.
Update: Chris Davis has been removed from the lineup due to an illness. The new order is Villar SS, Mancini 1B, Smith LF, Núñez DH, Ruiz 3B, Rickard RF, Alberto 2B, Sucre C, Mullins CF.
Update III: Dylan Bundy gave up Yandy Diaz’s sacrifice fly and Avisail Garcia’s two-run homer in the fourth and the Rays lead 3-2.