SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Alex Cobb, who was once taken off the field on a stretcher, knows something about the worst that can happen on the pitcher’s mound. For about 10 seconds Saturday, during the Giants’ Cactus League exhibition with the Dodgers, he thought it had happened again.
Cobb collapsed to the ground and began writhing in pain after the first batter of the fourth inning, Miguel Vargas, lined a hard-hit comebacker that struck Cobb on the inner portion of his left knee. He felt a shooting pain through his foot, and he thought it was broken.
“Every thought that you can have goes through your mind there while you’re down,” Cobb said, about an hour later, after tests revealed no more damage to his knee than a bad bruise and serious swelling. “I was just thinking all these extreme thoughts of what is this going to lead to? Am I going to miss the season with a broken knee? … Fortunately, as of right now, it doesn’t seem like it’s that bad.”
Scary moment in Scottsdale, as Alex Cobb took a hard-hit comebacker off what appears to be his left knee. He walked off under his own power.
📹 Here is the play: pic.twitter.com/umWTGtw9I1
— Evan Webeck (@EvanWebeck) March 11, 2023
After being visited by manager Gabe Kapler and the Giants’ training staff, Cobb was able to walk off under his own power. He was not only optimistic that would he be ready for Opening Day but that he wouldn’t even miss a spring start.
Even if he is pushed back, which is dependent on how the knee responds to treatment over the next couple days, Cobb said he should have no problem getting built up in time for the season. He was making his third start of the spring and pitched into the fourth inning for the first time.
“As long as you get built up to five innings by the start of the season,” Cobb said, “you can go five, six, seven innings.”
It wasn’t Cobb’s first time dealing with a baseball shooting off the bat right back at him.
In 2013, the outcome was much worse, when Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer lined a ball that struck Cobb in the head. He had to be lifted on a stretcher off the field and ultimately missed two months, diagnosed with a concussion.
Even earlier Saturday, Cobb had another comebacker that he gloved successfully.
“I’m a ball magnet,” Cobb said. “The shape of my fastball just induces the up-the-middle hard-hit contact when I don’t execute it.”
Before his early exit, execution had not been an issue. Cobb had completed three scoreless innings with five strikeouts.
“That’s kind of what I was thinking on the ground,” Cobb said. “Like, man, I was feeling really good. Now I’m gonna have to miss some time. I was little frustrated with that because I’m starting to feel comfortable on the rubber, starting to understand my delivery really well and working on some pitches (a slider) I like the shapes of. Overall, I’m very happy with where I’m at my third start in.”