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Alex Cobb’s ambitious rehab: How SF Giants’ starter hurried back from hip surgery

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Alex Cobb’s ambitious rehab: How SF Giants’ starter hurried back from hip surgery


PHOENIX — In the shadow of two buttes, Alex Cobb’s four-month odyssey came full circle.

It was here, at the Giants’ Papago Park training complex, that Cobb arrived every morning at 9 a.m. Where every day he went through five to six hours of rehabilitation. And, on Saturday afternoon, where he pitched in his first game since last September, before he underwent surgery on his left hip.

“I put in a lot of sweat in the gym here,” Cobb said, standing to the side of the second of four fields, where he just completed two innings against the A’s Single-A squad. “I started having that feeling when I first got in here to warm up. It was wild to just feel like I was here yesterday rehabbing and we’re already almost at the end of spring.”

With a week left before the Giants break camp, the 36-year-old right-hander is further along than anybody — perhaps except himself — could have envisioned when Dr. Marc Philippon took a knife to his left hip on Oct. 31 in Vail, Colorado. He had five anchors inserted, three bone chips removed and was given a timeline of six months before he would toe a rubber again, let alone do so in a game.

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And yet, just after 1 p.m. Saturday at Papago Park’s Field 2, Cobb emerged from the third-base dugout, adjusted his cap and took the mound. He fired his first three pitches for strikes, eventually landing 18 of his 27 pitches in the zone while striking out five of the seven batters he faced. He didn’t allow a hit and didn’t issue a walk, making such quick work of the minor leaguers that after he recorded his final out, they called on an extra batter for him to complete his full scheduled workload.

“From the beginning of the surgery, it was a goal of mine to do that,” Cobb said, so that to him, “it wasn’t that big of a deal.”

“I think if you told me when I had the surgery that I’d be this far ahead, I’d be surprised, but as I’m going through the process, I’m not surprised, just knowing how good I’ve felt everyday.”

To manager Bob Melvin, who has at least one hole to fill in his starting rotation, Cobb’s speedy recovery carries more significance. The group behind Logan Webb was already thin before an aneurysm was discovered in Tristan Beck’s shoulder and Keaton Winn’s elbow started barking.

After a successful minor-league outing, Cobb could now get into a Cactus League game within the next week, Melvin said. He could be an option for the major-league rotation as soon as the end of April, a full two months ahead of the timeline laid out to him in the wake of the operation.

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“It would be a big deal,” Melvin said. “With some of the injuries we’ve had, you obviously don’t want to push somebody like that. But the sooner we can have him, the more of an impact it is. And it’s Alex Cobb. So it’s a big deal. … He’s been relentless. We’ve gotten to this point because of his hard work.”

Cobb may be the poster child for the $70 million investment the organization made in the 33-acre training complex, overhauling the A’s former facilities into a state-of-the-art new home for their minor leaguers that opened in 2022. It has proven to be a boon for big leaguers, too.

While rehabbers such as Cobb have a place to do their work under the watchful eyes of trainers, nutritionists and performance coaches, the amenities are enough to attract a large swath of the substantial contingent of players who make their offseason homes nearby.

“Basically starting January 1, it feels like spring training around here,” said farm director Kyle Haines, who oversees the site. “It draws people to want to be here, and we end up with a very heavy presence training. It creates a great environment, too. We’ve got Logan Webb pushing guys. Kyle Harrison pushing guys. Cobb’s pushing the rehab group. It gives us that organizational connection.”

Outfielder Michael Conforto, who lives about 30 minutes away, made regular use of the facility and said of Cobb, “most days I would go in there, he would already be in there. And then most days when I would leave, he would still be there.”

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Working closely with Frank Perez, one of the team’s physical therapists, Cobb began with exercises in the swimming pool. Then he progressed to standing on flat ground. Before long, he was back in the weight room. At each step, Cobb seemed to be hitting his milestones earlier and earlier.

“Frank showed up every single day and worked me to the bone,” Cobb said. “I’d be gassed and he wouldn’t feel bad for one second. He just had me hit the next one.”

If it all sounds a bit remarkable for a 36-year-old entering his 13th season, well, it is.

In 2011, he had thoracic outlet surgery, a career-ender for many players. In 2015, he had the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow repaired, otherwise known as Tommy John surgery. It wasn’t his first hip surgery, either, having undergone a similar procedure on his right hip in 2019.

And yet, at age 35 last season, he was named an All-Star for the first time. (And, he later learned, had been pitching on an impingement in his left hip for about two months at the time.)

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“He’s a special human,” said lefty Robbie Ray, 32, who’s recovering from Tommy John and flexor tendon surgeries. “I’m definitely trying to figure out, ‘Hey man, what are you doing?’”

Added the 30-year-old Conforto, pausing to choose his words correctly: “He’s not a 24-year-old young kid, I’m gonna say it as delicately as I can. He doesn’t give off that he’s super old, but he’s been around for a long time. Maybe in some ways that helps.”

Given the six-month timetable, Cobb said he hesitated to have the surgery at all, assuming he would be out until the All-Star break. Immediately following the operation, he began insisting that he would be back ahead of schedule. Webb, his rotation partner and close confidant, thought Cobb was kidding.

“It wasn’t a joke,” Cobb said.

“I didn’t believe him back then,” Webb said. “But as soon as he started playing catch, that’s kind of when I saw.”

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That milestone came in January, and on Saturday, a little under two weeks until Opening Day, Cobb displayed for the public what Webb saw back then.

“He was only allowed to throw once every couple days, and every time,” Webb said, “it seemed like it looked like Alex the whole time.”

While Cobb has defied odds, age and time, there was one goal that proved to be too ambitious.

“I told Bob and the training staff and Webby that I’m gonna get ready for Opening Day and if I do, I get the ball,” Cobb smiled. “Webby agreed and Bob agreed. I failed on that, but that was my mindset.”

Giants (SS) 6, Guardians 0

Matt Chapman blasted his first home run as a Giant, and Daulton Jefferies tossed four shutout innings to deliver a win in the home half of a split-squad doubleheader. Shortstop Nick Ahmed also contributed a pair of hits, including an RBI triple, raising his spring batting average to .529 (9-for-17) and OPS to 1.695. Jefferies, 28, is attempting a return from his second Tommy John surgery and being considered for the final spot in the rotation or a swingman role in the bullpen.

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Giants (SS) 11, White Sox 7

At Camelback Ranch, Spencer Howard provided an equally strong case for a rotation spot, also going four scoreless — without allowing hit — before the floodgates opened. Marco Luciano walked twice and scored a run, but the biggest chunk of the scoring was provided by third baseman David Villar, who homered, drove in three runs and scored three times in a 4-for-5 effort.

Notable

— More than one milestone occurred at the minor-league fields Saturday. Shortly after Cobb finished his two innings, 23-year-old left-hander Carson Whisenhunt took the mound. It was his first appearance in a game this spring after being slowed by injuries to begin camp. While it didn’t go as well as it did for Cobb, allowing three runs in one inning of work, it should only increase the odds the 2022 66th overall draft pick joins Cobb in the majors later this season.



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San Francisco, CA

San Francisco Giants’ Struggling Ace Will Miss Time With Injury

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San Francisco Giants’ Struggling Ace Will Miss Time With Injury


Things are going from bad to worse for Blake Snell as the San Francisco Giants announced that they are placing him on the injured list with an abductor strain.

The two-time Cy Young winner has been off to a miserable start to his San Francisco career and now will have to spend some time away on the 15-day IL as he deals with the injury. For the corresponding move, the team is recalling Landen Roupp from the Sacramento River Cats.

The immediate fix, as Snell was slated to pitch against the New York Mets on Wednesday afternoon, will be a bullpen game. Ryan Walker will get the start in his place, as reported by the SF Chronicle’s Shayna Rubin.

Maybe some time away from the team will be good for the 31-year-old. He has an ERA of 11.57 through his first three outings. The lefty didn’t sign with the team until March 19 and didn’t spend any time in the minor leagues to get acclimated back into the groove of pitching.

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Roupp, 25, made his major league debut earlier this season and has a 4.35 ERA so far. He was a 12th round draft selection by the Giants in the 2021 MLB draft and will now return to the show.

San Francisco is still squarely in the race for both their division and the wild card, but sitting at 12-13 they will need to find some success over the next couple of weeks without Snell. Just as important, they need him to comeback from his injury playing at a higher level than he has been.

No one doubts that he still has the talent to be a top pitcher in the league, he won the Cy Young just last season, he just needs to find that consistency again.



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Man stabs parishioner, says ‘Jesus is not real,’ outside San Francisco church during confirmations – OSV News

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Man stabs parishioner, says ‘Jesus is not real,’ outside San Francisco church during confirmations – OSV News


(OSV News) — parishioner was stabbed outside a historic San Francisco church April 21, where the city’s Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone was administering the sacrament of confirmation.

The San Francisco Police Department told OSV News that officers arrived just before 1 p.m. Sunday at Sts. Peter and Paul Church, where an adult male was found “suffering from an apparent stab wound.”

The victim was then taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, said police.

A 25-year-old suspect named Marko Asaulyuk was arrested and booked into San Francisco County Jail, charged with attempted murder and eight counts of assault with a deadly weapon, police told OSV News. Asaulyuk remains behind bars. Police did not provide information on a motive for the attack.

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An April 22 post on X (formerly Twitter) by local crime reporter Henry K. Lee shows images of police taking into custody a handcuffed, blond-haired white male wearing a red jacket and long black shorts, whom Lee said was Asaulyuk.

Local media reported that the suspect, who was believed to be without a fixed residence, had entered the church — at which a large congregation was present — prior to the attack. Due to safety concerns, he was escorted outside.

Unnamed witnesses told local media the man then accosted an unidentified individual, saying, “Jesus is not real,” and shortly thereafter stabbed the victim, whose wife called emergency services. Several people detained the suspect until police arrived.

OSV News is awaiting a response to its request for comment from the Archdiocese of San Francisco and from the parish staff of Sts. Peter and Paul.

The parish traces its foundation to 1884, with its first church destroyed by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire. The current church, known for its iconic twin spires, was completed in 1924. The parish is administered by the Salesians of St. John Bosco, who along with the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians serve the area’s young people, elders and Chinese communities, as well as a growing number of tourists and persons experiencing homelessness and poverty.

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Gina Christian is a multimedia reporter for OSV News. Follow her on X (formerly Twitter) at @GinaJesseReina.



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Slack founder's teen child reported missing, believed to be in San Francisco

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Slack founder's teen child reported missing, believed to be in San Francisco


Slack co-founder Stewart Butterfield’s 16-year-old child has been reported missing and is believed to be in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood, according to police and local officials.

Mint Butterfield was reported missing by their mother, entrepreneur Caterina Fake, on Monday, Marin County Sheriff Sgt. Adam Schermerhorn confirmed to The Standard. They were last seen around 10 p.m. in Bolinas on Sunday and were reported missing the next morning.

Officials said the teen, who has a San Francisco address, has a history of substance abuse and is known to frequent the Tenderloin.

The Marin County Sheriff’s Office posted a flyer with Mint Butterfield’s picture to the social media platform Nextdoor on Tuesday. Supervisor Matt Dorsey reposted the flyer on X, saying Butterfield was now believed to be in or around the Tenderloin.

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