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

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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.

Report: Rangers sign Jeff Mathis to two-year deal

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The Rangers have signed catcher Jeff Mathis to a two-year contract, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The deal is pending a physical.

Mathis turns 36 years old at the end of March and has a career .564 OPS across 14 seasons, but he is well-regarded for his defense and ability to handle a pitching staff.

The arrival of Mathis could mean the Rangers are moving on from Robinson Chirinos behind the plate, as he is now a free agent. The Rangers could go after another catcher to complement Mathis or just have Isiah Kiner-Falefa back up Mathis. Though Kiner-Falefa mostly played elsewhere, including three spots across the infield, he did rack up over 300 defensive innings behind the plate in 2018.