Alex Cobb’s head injury overshadows Rays’ win vs. KC

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — A scary moment involving Tampa Bay right-hander Alex Cobb overshadowed the Rays victory.

Cobb was taken off the field on a

stretcher after he was hit on the right ear by a liner off the bat of

Kansas City’s Eric Hosmer in the fifth inning of the Rays’ 5-3 win over

the Royals on Saturday.

Rays spokesman Rick Vaughn said all

tests were normal and that Cobb suffered a mild concussion. Cobb was

taken to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg, where he will spent

the night.

Cobb tweeted Saturday night: “Can’t

thank everyone enough for the prayers. Was the only way for me to make

it out of there ok. Look forward to getting back out there.”

He put a hand on his head after being

struck. Trainers from both teams and other medical staff immediately ran

onto the field. Cobb could be seen kicking his legs while being

examined on the mound.

The team said Cobb remained conscious the whole time.

Players on both teams had hands on

their heads as a stunned silence overtook Tropicana Field after the

crowd gasped when Cobb was struck. Rays head athletic trainer Ron

Porterfield and Dr. Michael Reilly went with Cobb to the hospital.

Tampa Bay pitcher David Price visited

Cobb in the hospital and tweeted: “Cobber is way more tough than me!!

Laughing at jokes and the name they gave him!! Please keep him and his

family in your prayers.”

“He seemed pretty normal, so that was

good,” Price said after returning to the ballpark. “Our hearts are with

him. He told me that Porterfield was making him really mad on the field

because he wouldn’t let him stand up, so it was good that he wanted to

be able to stand up. He knew where he was. It’s amazing that he is in

the condition I feel like he is in right now.”

Hosmer’s drive bounced back toward the plate area, where catcher Jose Lobaton picked up the ball and threw him out at first.

“He hit it so hard (Cobb) couldn’t even

react, and it makes everybody in the stadium sick to their stomach when

something like that happens,” Royals manager Ned Yost said.

Hosmer said he didn’t even want to run to first.

“I just wanted to see how he was

doing,” Hosmer said. “You hate to see that, especially Alex having a

great year. It’s just scary stuff, man. I’m glad he’s alright. I know

he’s been talking and having conversations.”

Hosmer, and Cobb’s former teammates James Shields and Elliot Johnson planned to visit the pitcher at the hospital.

“I just want to go there and show him I care how he’s doing,” Hosmer said.

Cobb being hit came a month after Blue

Jays starter J.A. Happ was also struck by a liner against the Rays and

suffered a skull fracture. Happ was discharged from an area hospital the

following day.

The sound of the ball striking Cobb —

which sounded like a bat hitting a ball — could be heard in the press

box and throughout the ballpark.

“I think everybody heard it,” Rays

right fielder Matt Joyce said. “The loudest and worst ball hitting

somebody I’ve ever seen. Obviously the same happened with Happ here and

that was terrifying, too. But man, that one caught him square.”

Rays players, manager Joe Maddon and

pitching coach Jim Hickey gathered at the mound during the 11-minute

delay. Shortstop Yunel Escobar was in squatting position looking down at

the ground, while Hickey appeared at time at be nervously pacing near

the mound.

“When they rolled him over, Cobber was

talking and that was a good thing,” Maddon said. “It’s one of those

really, really bad moments. It’s part of the game and it stinks

sometimes. Just a horrible moment to witness. It doesn’t happen often,

thank God, but when it does it can really give you pause. We were very

lucky. Of course Alex was very lucky.”

“I thought our medical staff did a

great job,” Maddon added. “They were beyond professional with how they

dealt with the entire moment.”

It has been a tough week for Cobb, who

left the team after starting Monday night’s game against Boston due to

the death of his grandmother. He was informed of the death after the

game in which the 25-year old gave up a season-high six runs over four

innings in a 10-8, 14-inning loss to the Red Sox.

“So everything’s looking positive and

from everything I’ve heard, he has a laceration on his ear and a

concussion,” Shields said. “Hopefully it’s just that.”

Luke Scott, Joyce and Evan Longoria

homered for the Rays, who had lost five of six. Alex Torres (2-0)

replaced Cobb and struck out four over 1 2-3 scoreless innings. Fernando

Rodney pitched the ninth for his 14th save in 19 opportunities.

“I’m still shaking,” Torres said.

Joyce hit a solo homer off Jeremy

Guthrie (7-4) in the fifth that put the Rays up 4-2 and ended the

Royals’ 13-game stretch of limiting opponents to three runs or fewer.

“Such a heart-wrenching and terrible

thing to happen on a baseball field, but at the same time you have to

finish the game,” Joyce said. “The only thing you can do is just pray

that he’s OK and pray for a speedy recovery.”

Guthrie gave up five runs and eight hits over seven innings.

Scott hit his first homer since May 19,

a two-run drive during the third as Tampa Bay grabbed a 3-2 lead.

Scott, who had make all of his 29 previous starts this season at

designated hitter, started in left field with third baseman Longoria

moving into the DH role.

Longoria, bothered the past two weeks

by plantar fasciitis in his right foot, was the DH for the third

straight game. He made it 5-2 on a sixth-inning solo homer and also had a

sacrifice fly in the first.

Longoria is expected to DH again Sunday and could play in the field when the Rays start a road trip Tuesday at Boston.

The Royals took a 2-1 lead in the

second when Alex Gordon walked on a 3-2 pitch with the bases loaded and

Hosmer hit a sacrifice fly. Salvador Perez cut the deficit to 5-3 on a

solo homer in the eighth.

Perez extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a single in the first.

NOTES:

Cobb allowed two runs and four hits in 4 1-3 innings. … Tampa Bay LHP

David Price (left triceps strain) had a 25-pitch bullpen session and

could start a minor league rehab assignment Tuesday. The AL Cy Young

Award winner may rejoin the Rays in late June or early July. … Royals

RHP Wade Davis (3-5) will pitch against his former team for the first

time Sunday. “I’m not going to smile … there’s no smiling,” Davis

said. “We’re trying to win games over here. We’re trying to get in a

good position over here.” Roberto Hernandez (4-6) will start for the

Rays.