Baltimore Orioles: Blister could end season for Alex Cobb

(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

Baltimore Orioles’ pitcher Alex Cobb was removed from last night’s start after just two innings, after Cobb re-aggravated a blister on his pitching hand. Could the injury spell an early end to 2018 for Cobb?

The Baltimore Orioles lost to the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday night by a score of 3-2. Alex Cobb pitched well in an injury shortened appearance, and Jonathan Villar provided the Orioles only offense, hitting a solo homer in the 6th and an RBI single in the 8th.

More concerning than the Orioles losing their 103rd game of the season was Alex Cobb re-aggravating the blister, or what he has described as a cut, on his pitching hand and leaving the game after just two innings.

This injury with Cobb is disappointing because he’s pitched so well during the second half of the season, but if the issue is allowed to linger it could become a major problem for the Orioles.

We’ve seen how finger injuries, specifically blisters, can affect major league pitchers: Aaron Sanchez essentially missed an entire season with the Blue Jays, and Rich Hill has missed significant time with the same injury.

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Unfortunately, we don’t know what to expect with Cobb at this point. The Orioles gave him an extra two days between starts, before sending him to the mound on Tuesday but Cobb still wasn’t able to get through his outing. In fact, he was visibly affected by the blister during pre-game warm-ups.

With this kind of injury, we aren’t sure when Cobb will be 100%; it could be as soon as a week or two, or it could require a couple months to let the skin heal over before he can begin pitching again.

What we are sure of it that the injury is bad enough to affect his ability to grip and throw a baseball, and that there’s no timetable for him to return to 100% before the end of 2018.

So we’re left to wonder what the Orioles will do with Cobb. It seems doubtful they start him on regular rest on Sunday, but they could push him back a few days into the Toronto series. If they’re going to push him as far as the weekend series in New York, it could be better for both Cobb and the Orioles to just shut him down for the season.

If the latter is the case, Cobb will only miss three starts; it’s not the ideal outcome but these types of injuries tend to linger and the risk of putting Cobb back out on the mound for a start or two is certainly higher than the reward.

For the sake of Cobb’s 2019 season, it’s probably best if he’s just done for the season at this point. The Orioles don’t have many other options to throw out there if they do shut Cobb down, but it’s better to have him healthy going into 2019 than to have him start a couple more meaningless games this year.

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As frustrating as it is to write, the Orioles should just call it now and give Alex Cobb the next few weeks off. It will give his hand time to heal at the pace it needs, that way he can be start a throwing program in the off-season and come into 2019 healthy and ready to go.