PORT CHARLOTTE (FOX 13) - Rays pitcher Alex Cobb missed almost two full seasons after elbow tendonitis lead to Tommy John surgery in 2015.
Cobb didn't find his way back on the mound until last September. He managed just five starts and failed to regain the form that once made him the ace of the Rays staff.
Cobb sat down with FOX 13's Kevin O'Donnell at Rays Spring Training. He admitted he had refused to believe what other other major-leaguers were telling him about the real recovery time from Tommy John surgery. Cobb thought his recovery would be much quicker.
"I didn't believe it," said Cobb. "I didn't, put into it as much as I probably should have. Going through it, it humbled me tremendously, realizing that you don't know as much as you think you do."
Now, Cobb begins his fifth Spring Training with the Rays with a clear mind and a body that feels like it's old self.
"Physically, it is," Cobb explained. "I think the biggest thing with pitching, is the ability to repeat. Repeat those mechanics 100-plus times a game."
It was just two years ago that Cobb came out of the Rays Spring Training Camp as the "Rays Ace," the opening-day starter. Getting back to that level of play is viewed as critical for the Rays' success this season, but his manager, Kevin Cash doesn't want to put that kind of pressure on him.
"Let's be patient with him," Cash told FOX 13. "The mindset is where it's critical and Alex carries himself so well. He's such a good leader in the clubhouse. When he speaks, the other pitchers listen."
"One goal that I've always kind of thought was something that should be, is something we should all strive for, is to make every start," said Cobb. "It's something I have been able to do."
Even Cobb believes Chris Archer will earn the title of the "Rays Ace" for a second straight year. The Rays need Cobb to give the team a potent 1-2 punch.