ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – After being struck on the right ear by a line drive Saturday, Tampa Bay Rays right-hander Alex Cobb was released Sunday afternoon from nearby Bayfront Medical Center, the team announced.
Cobb sustained a mild concussion in the top of the fifth inning at Tropicana Field when a hit by Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer struck him on the mound. The ball off Hosmer’s bat traveled at 102.4 mph, according to Sun Sports data. Medical personnel immobilized Cobb, who bled on the mound, and transported him to the hospital, about a mile from the stadium.
Left-hander Alex Torres came in as relief. The Rays eventually won 5-3.
Tampa Bay announced Sunday morning that they had placed Cobb on the seven-day concussion disabled list. Right-hander Josh Lueke will be recalled from Triple-A Durham. The Rays said Cobb was being treated for a condition similar to cauliflower ear — a situation where the ear sustains trauma and fluid collects in the affected area.
He was discharged from the hospital around 3:15 p.m. ET.
“Those are the kind of moments that you feel as a group, as a fraternity,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “I know we feel wonderful about it. I think the rest of baseball feels good about it beyond the fan base. … The biggest thing is just to follow the instructions of the doctors, make sure that he gets his rest.”
On Sunday morning, before the finale of a four-game series between the Rays and Royals, Cobb’s teammates reflected on a strange night. Fellow pitchers such as left-hander Matt Moore, left-hander David Price and right-hander Jeremy Hellickson visited Cobb at the hospital Saturday. Former Rays players and current Royals members, right-hander James Shields and second baseman Elliot Johnson, did so, as well.
Moore said about 10-15 people were near Cobb at the time of his visit. The feeling of seeing a friend and teammate in such pain was odd, worrisome.
“I hadn’t felt that feeling ever in my entire life, seeing one of my really good friends that I care about in that kind of pain,” Moore said. “It sucked. It was pretty bad for a little bit.”
According to Moore, Cobb had “a pretty bad headache and a bad stomach ache.” Moore recalled hearing through someone close to Cobb that the pitcher did not remember being hit; according to Moore’s account, Cobb could, however, remember the final moments of the line drive streaking toward him. On Saturday night, Price said Cobb was laughing at nurse’s jokes in the hospital and appeared to be in good spirits.
“It says a lot about Cobb, the way he handled it,” Moore said.
Other Rays pitchers were grateful, as well.
“It was scary,” reliever Jamey Wright said. “You never know. My philosophy of pitching is, ‘Hit it that way or that way, just don’t hit it back at me.’ Hit it as hard as you want – just don’t hit it back at me.”
“You always feel bad, especially when he’s your teammate, and you’re with him every day,” reliever Jake McGee said. “It makes it harder. It sucks. It’s never good to see that. It’s scary. It sounds like he was making jokes yesterday, so that’s a good sign.”
Cobb, who has a 6-2 record with a 3.01 ERA in 13 appearances, was making his first start since being activated from the bereavement list Friday after attending the funeral of his maternal grandmother, Nancy Miller, 85, in Worcester, Mass. He threw 78 pitches and gave up two runs, four hits and struck out three.
On Sunday morning, Cobb took to Twitter to thank Rays head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield and Bayfront Medical Center personnel. Porterfield and Rays medical team physician Dr. Michael Reilly also accompanied Cobb to the hospital.
Want to say thank you to our All-star trainer Ron Porterfield and the doctors @bayfront hospital. Woke up with only a minor headache today.