Author: D.J. Short

Alex Cobb

Alex Cobb shut down after setback with forearm injury


Rays right-hander Alex Cobb has been sidelined since the middle of March due to forearm tendinitis and it doesn’t sound like he’ll be back in the near future.

According to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, Rays manager Kevin Cash said today that Cobb has been shut down from throwing after suffering what he described as “a little bit of a setback.” He advanced to bullpen sessions toward the end of last month, but Cash said that “he didn’t feel as good as he’d hoped.” The Rays have already sent him to the team doctor, but they’ll see how he feels after a couple of days of rest before deciding on the next step.

Cobb, 27, quietly posted a 2.82 ERA with 8.2 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 over 49 starts from 2013-2014. Chris Archer and Jake Odorizzi are off to nice starts and Drew Smyly recently returned from the DL, but he’s greatly missed in Tampa Bay’s rotation.

Chad Billingsley set to join Phillies’ rotation on Tuesday

Chad Billingsley

According to Jim Salisbury of, the Phillies will activate right-hander Chad Billingsley from the 15-day disabled list to start Tuesday against the Braves in Atlanta.

Billingsley hasn’t pitched in the majors in over two years, as he underwent Tommy John surgery in April of 2013 and needed surgery last June to repair a torn flexor tendon in his elbow. The Phillies gave him a one-year, $1.5 million deal over the winter which could max out at $8 million with incentives.

Billingsley, 30, posted a 4.74 ERA with 16 strikeouts and six walks in 19 innings over four minor league rehab starts with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He owns a 3.65 ERA in his career, so he’s a fine gamble for rebuilding Philadelphia and could be flipped for a useful prospect at the trade deadline if he can show something close to his old form.

Billingsley will take the rotation spot of right-hander David Buchanan, who was optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley today after posting an ugly 8.76 ERA and 12/15 K/BB ratio over his first five starts this season.

Athletics designate Cody Ross for assignment

Seattle Mariners v Oakland Athletics
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Among a host of roster moves this afternoon, the Athletics announced that they designated outfielder Cody Ross for assignment.

Ross was given his release last month by the Diamondbacks, who ate the $9.5 million remaining on his contract. He quickly latched on with the Athletics, but went just 2-for-22 (.091) with three RBI over nine games during his brief stint with the club.

In addition to the move with Ross, the Athletics placed reliever Eric O’Flaherty on the 15-day disabled list with a left shoulder strain while recalling outfielder Billy Burns and right-hander R.J. Alvarez from Triple-A Nashville. They also claimed outfielder Alex Hassan off waivers from the Rangers. This is the third time they have claimed him off waivers since November. Maybe he should continue to keep a bag packed just in case.

Albert Pujols returns to Angels’ starting lineup

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Oakland Athletics
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Albert Pujols missed two days after leaving Wednesday’s game due to left hamstring tightness, but he’s back in the starting lineup today against the Giants.

While Pujols is back in his standard No. 3 spot, Mike Scioscia’s lineup has a slightly different look. Kole Calhoun moved into the cleanup spot while Pujols was out and will remain there today. He’s been the team’s primary leadoff hitter, but Erick Abyar will get his third straight start there today. Mike Trout remains in the No. 2 spot.

The Angels have tried multiple hitters out of the cleanup spot this season, including Matt Joyce and David Freese. However, Freese doesn’t hit righties and Joyce has struggled against pretty much everyone. Calhoun owns a .276/.334/.450 batting line in the majors and the hope is that he can function as a run-producer.

The Angels led the majors in runs scored last season, but they ranked 18th at the start of Saturday’s action.

Yankees GM Brian Cashman acknowledges team won’t pay A-Rod $6 million bonus for 660th home run

Alex Rodriguez

We have heard various sourced reports in recent weeks and months that the Yankees weren’t planning to pay Alex Rodriguez his $6 million marketing bonus if or when he reached 660 career home runs to tie Willie Mays for fourth on the all-time list, but nobody from the team has gone on record about it until today.

On the heels of A-Rod tying Mays last night, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York that the agreement states they have the “right” to determine whether to pay him the bonus, not the “obligation.” Here’s more from Cashman:

“We’re going to honor our responsibilities of the contract,” Cashman said. “(But) how it’s been reported . . . and what the contract actually says are two different things. It’s not ‘you do this, you get that.’ It’s completely different. It’s not all of a sudden, we’re choosing not to do something. If we choose to pursue something we’ll choose to pursue it. If we choose not to, it’s our right not to. In both cases, we’re honoring the contract.”

Per Jack Curry of YES Network, below is the exact wording of the marketing agreement between the two sides:

The Yankees are arguing that Rodriguez’s history with PEDs has taken away the ability to market the accomplishment. Of course, they have shown that they are willing to sell just about anything, so this is a very questionable claim. According to the collective bargaining agreement, Rodriguez has 14 days from the time of the Yankees’ refusal to file a grievance. The MLBPA is prepared to back A-Rod if he decides to fight it.