Rays ace Alex Cobb to undergo Tommy John elbow surgery

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Earlier this week there was some talk of Alex Cobb trying the rest-and-rehab route after an MRI exam showed a torn elbow ligament, but the Rays announced that the 27-year-old right-hander has decided to undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery.

Cobb has been on the disabled list all season after experiencing forearm discomfort during spring training, but initial tests by the Rays were said to show no structural damage. Now he’s unlikely to be a factor in Tampa Bay again until at least the second half of next season.

It’s a huge loss for the Rays, as Cobb posted a sub-3.00 ERA in each of the past two seasons and has a 3.21 ERA in 499 career innings. Chris Archer, Drew Smyly, and Jake Odorizzi are still around to headline the Rays’ talented young rotation and they’re hoping to get All-Star left-hander Matt Moore back from his own Tommy John surgery soon.

Blue Jays clinch playoff berth with Orioles’ loss to Red Sox

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TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.

Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.

If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.

“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”

Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.

The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.

Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.