Cobb Has the Fire in his Belly

I like that Tampa Bay Rays prospect pitcher Alex Cobb was visibly upset when he got his marching orders to lug his gear and equipment to the “other clubhouse” on Monday. Cobb has done a lot to rehab and get himself into position to fight for not only a roster spot, but now is not his time. Sometimes channeling that emotion, taking that fire churning in your belly and refocusing it to making yourself better and more versatile can make you attractive as a vital tool at the MLB level.

But his attitude shows me something special. A lot of times guys go down after a bit of a rant, but do not show the frustration and fight. Cobb definitely made his displeasure known, and that is a good thing because that kind of fire and commitment to getting back to that level could be critical to Cobb early on this season. It could be the bonding moment where the Rays saw his fire, his passion, but his present skill set might be just a touch below the Rays first 5 penciled in starters at this moment.

Still Cobb has to be realistic that with the exception of David Price, Jeremy Hellickson and James Shields, the injury bug to the bottom two starters gave him his first taste of MLB life in 2011. Maybe that chance before his injury and surgery that effectively ended his season awoke an internal burning to stay at this point, to settle in with fellow golfing buddy Hellboy and thrust one of the Rays 2011 starters off that special rotation list.

That little nibble of the MLB lifestyle in 2011 got him hungry, got him committed, but somehow the numbers did not factor up in his favor…for now. I still remember seeing him get hit around a bit in his first 2 starts, possibly tipping off his pitch selection a hair, but suddenly he firmed up, got stingy with his offerings and showed us he was up for the MLB task.

Best case scenario Cobb takes that fight with him to Triple-A Durham and lets the ball be his messenger early on in the Triple-A season. Dominate, show improvement and make his not only his name, but his game on the mind of Rays Pitching Coach Jim Hickey if anything goes South with one of the Rays “Golden Arms”. Cobb did a great job of adjusting to the MLB game on and off the mound in 2011, and should be the first righty to get a return gig to the majors.

But right now, as the embers of the demotion are still fresh Cobb needed to re-focus, re-energize, re-commit not only his game but his mental attitude that he has to show not only himself, but the Rays that he is ready, healthy and can be a vital cog in the Rays pitching machine.

I think we will see him in mid-May, but then again I like people who have something to prove.

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