Rays careful not to overtax Cobb

Rays careful not to overtax Cobb

ST. PETERSBURG -- Alex Cobb took the mound for the Rays against the Yankees on Tuesday, and the club will be keeping an eye on the number of innings he accumulates going forward.

Between his time in the Majors and at Triple-A Durham this season, Cobb entered Tuesday having thrown 148 innings, the most of his career.

The right-hander threw 139 2/3 innings in 2008, but after that campaign, his total per season didn't exceed 124 2/3 until this year. Between Triple-A and the Majors last season, Cobb made 21 starts and was limited to 120 innings because of an injury, and manager Joe Maddon is cautious about not overworking the righty.

"You almost have to go back to see where he was two years ago," Maddon said about a plan moving forward. "It's just using a little bit of common sense and watching him and seeing what you think, combining a baseball acumen with what we normally do."

To fend off fatigue, the Rays could consider adding an extra day of rest between Cobb's starts or another starter to their rotation to make spot starts. Jeff Niemann's status is uncertain because of right shoulder inflammation, but with expanded rosters, the team could add an arm from the Minors.

Maddon wouldn't elaborate on who might fill that role, but a possible candidate is righty Chris Archer, who made a pair of starts for the Rays while Jeremy Hellickson was on the disabled list earlier this season. Archer went 0-2 but pitched well in his 11 2/3 innings with the Rays, striking out 14 and posting a 3.86 ERA.

When Cobb has pitched this season, he's done well, going 8-8 with a 4.39 ERA entering Tuesday. The right-hander hadn't lost in his last six starts, winning four of them.