Alex Cobb aims to return before end of May

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Rays starter Alex Cobb is ahead of schedule in his recovery from a severely-strained left oblique.

The right-hander threw what Rays manager Joe Maddon described as an “electric” bullpen session on Tuesday afternoon and told reporters after the workout that he expects to be back in Tampa Bay’s rotation before the end of May. The initial recovery timetable had him in rehab mode until mid June.

Cobb registered a 1.89 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 19 innings before landing on the disabled list April 13.

The 26-year-old shut out the Reds for seven frames in his final start before the oblique strain diagnosis.

Mike Napoli tore his ACL

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Mike Napoli suffered a torn right ACL and meniscus while playing for Triple-A Columbus the other night. The injury will require season-ending surgery.

Given that Napoli will turn 37 this year, given that he will need 10-14 months of rehab and given that, as it was, he was unable to find a major league gig, it’s almost certain that this injury will end Napoli’s career.

Napoli was off to a 1-for-24 start at Columbus after signing a minor league contract with the Indians this spring. He hit .193/.285/.428 for the Rangers in 2017. If this is it for Napoli, he’ll end his career with a line of .246/.346/.475 with 267 homers and 744 driven in. He appeared in the World Series with the 2011 Rangers, the 2013 Red Sox and the 2016 Indians, winning a ring with Boston.