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.

Miguel Sano gained weight this offseason

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Not all players coming in to spring training are in The Best Shapes of Their Lives. Some have put on a few pounds, such as Miguel Sano, notes Twins GM Thad Levine:

Sano has been given medical clearance to engage in all baseball workouts with his teammates, his surgically reinforced left shin now completely healed, though the Twins intend to lighten his schedule to prevent any new injuries.

They’d like to lighten something else, too: His “generous carriage,” as General Manager Thad Levine delicately put it last week. Sano’s conditioning understandably lags, after a winter largely spent incapacitated by the surgery.

Sano’s conditioning has often been a topic of conversation among the members of the Minnesota press corps, though not always in good faith. For example, last year when Sano injured his shin by fouling a ball off of it, one member of the The Fourth Estate found a way to make a column out of blaming the freak injury on Sano’s conditioning. At least in this instance his colleague is correctly noting that the poor conditioning is a result of the injury and not the cause.

Still, it’s just another issue facing Sano this spring. He’s out of shape, coming off of an injury, and — not that he’s due any sympathy for it — he’s facing a likely suspension arising out of the allegations of sexual assault leveled against him late last year.

So this spring we’ll be seeing more of Sano, it seems. At least until that time we’ll be seeing less of him.