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Rays turn to Alex Cobb, not Wade Davis, as Jeff Niemann’s rotation replacement

May 18, 2012, 11:19 AM EDT

Alex Cobb Getty Images

Jeff Niemann is out 4-6 weeks with a fractured right leg, but rather than shift Wade Davis back to the rotation the Rays are turning to Alex Cobb as the fill-in.

No official announcement has been made yet, but Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that Cobb will pitch in Niemann’s place tomorrow versus the Braves. And according to Topkin the other candidate considered for the job was not Davis, but rather Chris Archer.

In other words, the Rays really want to keep Davis in the bullpen, where the career-long starter currently has a 1.86 ERA and 18/7 K/BB ratio in 19 innings.

Cobb made nine starts for the Rays as a rookie last season and the 24-year-old right-hander pitched well with a 3.42 ERA and 37/21 K/BB ratio in 53 innings, but then missed the final two months following surgery to remove a blockage near his rib cage and began this year in the minors.

  1. bigleagues - May 18, 2012 at 12:37 PM

    Davis was unhappy about being moved to the Bullpen in Spring Training. I haven’t read or heard a word from him about it since.

    And he’s been unhittable at times, giving the Rays a legit middle innings stopper who is capable of getting 3-6 outs when necessary.

    He starts hitters out with anything from a fastball to that looping hard curve and though he may still want to Start, his performance is making his own case that he is best utilized in the pen.

    • hiltonandastoria - May 18, 2012 at 2:07 PM

      Davis was fine and welcomed being moved to the bullpen

      Lets try to stick to facts

      • bigleagues - May 18, 2012 at 5:41 PM

        OK, let’s . . . from February:

        http://www.tampabay.com/sports/baseball/rays/either-wade-davis-or-jeff-niemann-appears-likely-to-wind-up-in-bullpen/1216194

        Davis, 26, is adamant that he doesn’t want to go.

        “I’m a starter,” he said. “I don’t see any reason for me to be in the bullpen. I understand they’ve got to do certain things, but we’ll see. … I definitely want to be a starter and stay a starter forever. And that’ll be my mentality.”

        Davis said there haven’t been any conversations — yet, anyway — with anyone from the Rays about possibly ending up in the bullpen. And if he is sent that way, he might end up approaching them, though he wouldn’t have much leverage to force a trade.

        “If it ever did come to that, it’s something we’d talk about then,” he said.

        And while the article notes that Niemann would be open to pen work, Davis, who had made all 202 of his regular season appearances as a Starter prior to this season, had a decidedly different viewpoint:

        Davis doesn’t even want to think about. He said he worked out harder and more often this winter, his arm strength is up considerably from last year (when he was 11-10, 4.45), and he is determined to have a solid season — in the rotation.

        “Right now everything I’m doing is to get ready to throw all year long and into the postseason — I want to throw 230 innings,” he said. “I’m going to go out this spring and have a great spring. I have a whole different mentality and I’m physically better and stronger.”

        So, you can digest the spin that was spun at the conclusion of Spring Training however you like, but do not think for a moment that a 26-year-old career Starting Pitcher is happy about being moved to the bullpen – in middle relief no less – where his future earning potential is dramatically stunted.

      • hiltonandastoria - May 18, 2012 at 5:53 PM

        You Blah Blah Blah’ed only to admit in the end…(the only thing you didn’t quote) what Davis said at the end of spring.

        Why did you even bother replying at all?
        Yup Davis did exactly what I said I did, thanks for confirming in your odd round about way

      • bigleagues - May 19, 2012 at 12:14 PM

        I can only assume that you are a Fanboy or a 13-year-old who just discovered how fun it is to comment on baseball on the internet.

        Either is fine, but don’t pretend to understand how things really work.

  2. foreverchipper10 - May 18, 2012 at 3:41 PM

    Why do I have this feeling in my gut that he will throw 7 scoreless against my Bravos?

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