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Alex Cobb Set To Rejoin Orioles Rotation

April 19, 2019
Orioles starter Alex Cobb is admittedly experiencing some "rust" following a second stint on the injured list this season.

Nonetheless, he claims to be fully healthy and is ready to give the team some much-needed innings this weekend against the Minnesota Twins.

"I feel good," he told team's website. "It's been a long layoff, so there's some rust on there, but physically definitely capable of going out there. And just excited to go get back out."

Cobb, who signed a four year, $57 million deal with the Orioles in March 2018, is scheduled to make the start in the series opener April 19, but impending rain could push him back another day. Cobb and manager Brandon Hyde aren't going to push a high pitch count, but neither would disclose that target. 

Cobb also started the season on the injured list with a right groin strain. He made his debut in the home opener against the New York Yankees April 4, allowing two runs and five hits with four strikeouts and a walk during 5.2 innings (87 pitches, 52 strikes) in an 8-4 loss.

"I have to be happy with the amount of quality pitches I threw," Cobb said after that game. "I felt like I was on the attack more often than not. A lot of times last year I thought I was only on the defense. I want to go out there and attack hitters more."

He was expected to make his second start April 10 against Oakland, but he was placed on the 10-day injured list retroactive to April 6 with a lumbar strain. 

Hyde has used left-hander John Means to fill Cobb's role in the rotation. Means, who allowed two earned runs during eight innings in two starts, is working out of the bullpen now.

Means (2-2) picked up the win against the Tampa Bay Rays April 18 with two scoreless innings of relief. Outfielder Joey Rickard had four hits, including a RBI double in the 11th inning that provided the 6-5 victory.

Hyde has not ruled out using Means as a starter again this season. However, the manager does not plan to go with a six-man rotation. As it stands, the starters are right-handers Andrew Cashner, Dylan Bundy, Dan Straily, David Hess and Cobb.  

"Obviously, [Means] has pitched really, really well and deserves to stay in the rotation," Hyde told reporters prior to the series finale in Tampa Bay. "We've got five other starters, so we're going to play with it a little bit. Play with the dates, play with the off days. But he's also pitched really well for us out of the 'pen, so kind of allows us to have a long guy here the next few days and a guy we believe in coming out of the bullpen." 

The focus is now on Cobb to get back into form and give the rotation a boost. The Orioles have allowed a league-high 46 home runs so far this year.

Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox