PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The Rays made their first cuts of the spring Monday, optioning Alex Cobb, Chris Archer and Alex Torres to Minor League camp and reassigning Nevin Ashley, Juan Miranda, Ricky Orta and Mark Thomas to Minor League camp.
Of the group, Cobb was the biggest surprise.
Cobb made 12 starts with Triple-A Durham and nine for the Rays over three stints in 2011. Logging his first experience in the Majors, Cobb was impressive while notching a 3-2 record with a 3.42 ERA before his season was cut short in August due to thoracic outlet syndrome. On Aug. 18, season-ending surgery was performed to remove a blood clot and blockage in the area of Cobb's first right rib.
"I was a little bit surprised that it was this early, but after talking to them and what their plans are, and their reasoning behind it, it makes more sense to go down there, get my innings in, get stretched out a little bit. You know it's just a numbers game right now," Cobb said. "Just not enough innings to be passed around seven, eight, nine guys. It does make sense to go down there and work on some stuff and get my innings stretched out."
There is little doubt Cobb can pitch in the Major Leagues, and he would likely be in the rotation for many teams. Unfortunately for Cobb, he plays for the Rays, a team that has one of the deepest wells of starting pitchers.
"It's one of the things we talked about in the meeting," said Cobb of the knowledge that he could be pitching for a lot of teams. "It's frustrating. I [jokingly] told them it stinks being in this organization at this time.
"But if I wasn't in this organization, I wouldn't be the pitcher I am right now. I might not have even had the opportunity to be the pitcher I am, so it's Catch-22. If you want to be [upset] and focus on these few months not being in the big leagues, you can. But I just don't see the reason of being too upset about it right now."