Cobb Progressing Nicely For Rays





ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Growing up in Vero Beach, Fla., Alex Cobb got a close look at the majors during three springs as a bat boy for the Dodgers. Now a six-year pro, he's getting pretty close on his own.

Cobb, 23, was among four players added to the Rays' 40-man roster in advance of the Rule 5 draft, a reward for his strong 2010 season at Double-A Montgomery.
Cobb stepped his way through the Rays system after his selection in the fourth round of the 2006 draft out of Vero Beach (Fla.) High.

Cobb showed considerable development in going 7-5, 2.71 in 23 games for the Biscuits, striking out 128 and walking only 35 in 120 innings. He was named the Montgomery team MVP.

"Alex has improved steadily over the years," Rays farm director Mitch Lukevics said. "His ability to throw his fastball down in the strike zone and to pitch inside to both sides of the plate has enabled him to have improved success."

Since Cobb doesn't have overpowering stuff, his key is doing the right things with it, making fastball command an essential element. His 9.51 strikeouts led the Southern League and his overall total ranked third, and his ERA was fourth.
One key to Cobb's further development, Lukevics said, will be improvement with his changeup so he has the ability throw it for strikes in any count. Another will be consistency.

"His weakness, like in all young pitchers, is being more consistent with the good stuff he has," Lukevics said.

Also added to the 40-man roster were catcher Nevin Ashley, who made a good impression during spring training and a cameo during the playoffs as an emergency catcher after Dioner Navarro went home, and pitchers Dane De La Rosa and Alex Suarez.

COOL RAYS

• First baseman Jose Ruiz, a free agent signed from Cuba, was released when the Rays declined a four-year option that was reportedly worth about $4 million. Ruiz hit .272/.358/.348 over 106 Double-A plate appearances.

• Lefthander David Price became the first Ray to get higher than a third-place vote for the Cy Young Award when he finished second behind Felix Hernandez. Price got four first-place votes and 15 second-place votes.