SACRAMENTO — Giants pitcher Alex Cobb is progressing through his rehab from offseason hip surgery and doing everything he can to return to the mound as early in the 2024 MLB season as possible.
The 36-year-old right-hander underwent surgery on Oct. 31 to address labrum and impingement issues in his left hip, and likely will miss at least the first two months of the upcoming season.
Cobb spoke to NBC Sports Bay Area on Saturday at Giants Fan Fest about his rehab, providing an update on his progress and how he’s feeling almost three months after surgery.
“It comes in phases, so where you got to meet certain goals then you can move on to the next phase,” Cobb told NBC Sports Bay Area. “I feel like every phase I’ve been able to get through earlier than expected. I actually just started throwing on Thursday and everything feels great.
“My legs feel stronger than they have in a long time, so I’ve probably been dealing with that issue for a little bit and was able to navigate the rehab enough with the throwing program to kind of keep my arm in shape and going. I feel like that build-up time hopefully will be cut a little bit shorter. Always will be trying to get back a little bit quicker, but we’ll see what our PTs say.”
In speaking to reporters after the Giants’ trade for veteran left-handed pitcher Robbie Ray, president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi was asked about the timeline for Ray and Cobb’s midseason returns and stated that Ray, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, likely will return shortly after the MLB All-Star break, and that the team is encouraged by Cobb’s progress and believes he could return sometime in the first half of the season.
Not only does Cobb not know when he could return, but the Giants will not tell him. For a reason.
“I don’t have a timeline, but I do expect to be back before the All-Star break,” Cobb said. “At least personally, I expect that. I think the team is very cautious in what they say, not only to you guys but to me as well. They don’t want me to have that mentality of rushing back, they want to take it each phase by phase and see where I’m at. I’d be disappointed if I wasn’t back before the All-Star break.”
As a competitor who is itching to get back to the mound as soon as humanly possible, the Giants intentionally are keeping Cobb in the dark about his rehab progress to protect him from himself. There’s communication among everyone involved, including Cobb’s team at Driveline, who he continues to work with. But for now, the details are on a need-to-know basis and Cobb himself does not qualify.
“I asked when I’m going to be on the mound and they wouldn’t tell me, but they said it would be sooner than you’d think, so I would imagine a few weeks maybe?” Cobb shared.
“They really are keeping me in the dark on most of it. They just know how I am.”
When he does return to the mound, whenever that day might be, Cobb will work closely with new pitching coach Bryan Price, who was hired to new manager Bob Melvin’s staff this offseason. The veteran righty is excited about what his new pitching coach brings to the organization and appreciates his pitching philosophy.
“It’s been great. The first conversation we had he just hammered down how much he expects us to be flawless in our fundamentals, our PFPs, our holding the running game,” Cobb explained. “There’s so much information in baseball now. We have plenty of people in the organization who can talk to us about analytics and pitch design and scouting reports. It’s really refreshing to hear somebody say ‘We’re going to take care of the fundamentals that World Series teams accomplish.’
“And he’s taken the reigns on that, so that’s just really nice to hear and just the philosophy of pitching and how he wants starters to work deep and have a more traditional bullpen and guys to know their roles. I think it’s something a lot of guys are longing for. He’s just got a great demeanor, he’s just very calm in his words. His experience, he’s seen it all, he’s been a part of all of it. It’s going to be really fun to get to know him better and work with him.”
Cobb was a vital piece to the Giants’ 2023 rotation, earning his first career All-Star nod while providing the team with a consistent and reliable arm alongside staff ace Logan Webb atop a jumbled mess of a rotation.
While the Giants have plenty of starting depth heading into 2024, they still plan to rely heavily on Cobb once he returns. And it sounds like he’ll be ready to step up whenever the team gives him the green light.
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