BOSTON—Alex Cobb is in a holding pattern. He was supposed to pitch for the second time this season on Wednesday, but he came up with back spasms and was placed on the 10-day injured list retroactive to April 6.
Cobb isn’t ready to pitch, but he says his health has improved.
“Every day is better,” Cobb said. “The progress from my everyday life, just getting around and stuff like that, is almost back to normal I’d say. We haven’t tried throwing yet, but we want to calm the fire down as much as possible before we start doing that, make sure we don’t go backward in any capacity. But we’re all happy with where it’s at right now.”
Cobb was scheduled to start the season opener at Yankee Stadium on March 28 but was scratched because of a sore right groin. He pitched the home opener on April 4, allowing two runs on five hits in 5 2/3 innings.
Though Cobb pitched well, he knew something wasn’t right.
“Immediately after I came out of my first game, I don’t know what I was doing,” Cobb said. “I was just moving around, about to work out, and it just kind of grabbed on me and gave out. Honestly, I didn’t think it was that big of a deal.
“We thought it would definitely clear up by the next game, but I think I reaggravated it a little bit during the week again. We tried pushing it and trying to get back in time for the last game of the Oakland series, or whatever game I was supposed to start, and it just didn’t respond well.”
Cobb will start throwing again when the back is sound.
“Once that pain goes away, we can start building off it,” Cobb said “These questions are so hard to answer. Everybody wants to know why it happened, when you’re going to be back. You just really have to take it slow, and each day. So I envision it clearing up quickly because the progress every day is noticeable.”
Manager Brandon Hyde doesn’t want Cobb to rush back.
“Alex is feeling better,” Hyde said. “Not going to rush him back. We’re hoping that he can make a start once he comes off the [injured list], but it’s not for sure at this point just because it’s back spasms. We’re not going to rush anything. He’s feeling better, and we hope that he can throw a side [today] or [tomorrow] to prepare for that start.”
Cobb has had some setbacks to start the season, but it’s not like he’s beginning it again.
“No, it started,” Cobb said. “I pitched in a game already. It’s been good. Obviously, this isn’t something I wanted to happen, to deal with, but I can relate the two together, the groin and the back. I think one caused the other. And to be able to get back from the groin so quickly, it wasn’t even really like I missed a start. I pitched six, seven days after my scheduled start, so that wasn’t that big of a deal.
“To have this setback is unfortunate, but I’m just happy that it hasn’t been anything too serious, where I’m missing a huge chunk of time. I feel like I’m in the middle of the season. I threw my bullpen this week. This is Day Three of not throwing, but I still feel like I’m right in the middle of it all.”
Last season, his first with the Orioles, Cobb got a late start because he didn’t sign until late March and ended his season early when a blister kept flaring up. He’s not sure what caused this latest injury.
“I don’t think anybody can say that for certainty,” Cobb said. “Nobody has said anything along those lines. Whenever anything happens, I think there’s a million different opinions that go into it, everywhere from the bed you sleep in, to holding your newborn, overcompensating the groin, everything, the travel. It’s something we’re dealing with. I don’t care why it happened other than try to get better. I don’t know. I don’t have an answer for anybody of why it happened.”
For now, Cobb is on the bench, dispensing information to his mostly younger teammates when appropriate.
“We’re all together so many hours throughout the day, every single day, whether on the bus ride, the plane ride, whatever, sitting on the bench, we get questions asked, and we don’t realize we’re talking about the game,” Cobb said.
“You look up and talking about a batter, some sort of experience you’ve been going through for a few innings. It’s not like we hold session and class and teach, but we’re always learning from each other.”