04/07/2013 1:39 PM ET
Cobb enjoying success with improved curveball
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com
ST. PETERSBURG -- Alex Cobb struck out six while notching his first win of the season Saturday night against the Indians. The 25-year-old left-hander is now 10-2 with a 1.92 ERA when striking out five or more batters; he is 5-9 with a 5.35 ERA when striking out four or fewer batters.
It's reasonable to expect Cobb to continue chalking up the strikeouts due to his improved curve.
"He has a really good curveball," Rays manager Joe Maddon said.
Cobb said his curveball has been especially good since the end of the 2012 season.
"I started throwing a new curveball last year, and it's starting to really come around right now and at the end of last year," Cobb said. "I think that's more of a consistent feel I'm going to have for it game in and game out the rest of the year hopefully. Throughout Spring Training, it was there for me every game. Hopefully that's a sign of things to come the rest of the season."
Hellickson presented his Gold Glove Award
ST. PETERSBURG -- Prior to Sunday's game, Jeremy Hellickson received his 2012 Rawlings American League Gold Glove Award.
Hellickson was named the co-winner of the award with Chicago's Jake Peavy, the first time two pitchers have tied. In doing so, Hellickson became the second pitcher in Major League history to win a Gold Glove and Rookie of the Year Award, joining Fernando Valenzuela, who was National League Rookie of the Year in 1981 and the NL Gold Glove winner in 1986.
Hellickson is the youngest pitcher to win a Gold Glove since Kansas City's Bret Saberhagen won the award at age 25 in 1989.
"I'm really honored to win it," Hellickson said. "I wasn't expecting it. But it was really awesome to win, I like winning it."
Maddon 'gets a kick' out of being second-guessed
ST. PETERSBURG -- Second-guessing the manager is a time-honored right for any baseball fan. Rays manager Joe Maddon welcomes the second-guessing, noting that he "gets a kick" out of it.
"I think it's great because I think people are paying attention," Maddon said. "If they're paying attention they're going to second-guess. That's part of the culture of baseball. And I think it's great. Honestly it does not bother me in the least to be second-guessed. I do kind of enjoy it because what we do here is really thought out well in advance.
"Sometimes it doesn't work out, but it doesn't necessarily mean it was the wrong decision. It's part of the baseball culture. It's a good thing. It's a good thing for the manager to be second-guessed, because I think it talks somewhat about a rabid fan base, which we're always looking for. And then it does create conversation either in the bar or around the water cooler. I love all that stuff. And hopefully we're right more than wrong."
• Saturday night's crowd of 32,217 was the largest for a Rays-Indians game at Tropicana Field since April 7, 2000, the home opener for the Rays, which drew 40,329. The Rays improved to 46-16 (.742) since the start of 2008 when playing in front of home crowds of 30,000 or more during the regular season.
• Hellickson will take the mound on his 26th birthday when he starts against the Rangers Monday in Texas. He also pitched on his 25th birthday -- his first start of 2012, and fell one out shy of a complete-game shutout against the Yankees. Had he done so he would have become the first pitcher to throw a complete-game shutout on his birthday since Houston's Doug Drabek turned the trick against the Dodgers on July 25, 1995.
• Luke Scott (strained right calf) will accompany the team to Texas. Once Scott is ready, he will be sent out to one of the Rays Minor League affiliates for a rehab assignment before he returns to action with the Rays.
• Jeff Niemann said he has not yet had an MRI to diagnose what is wrong with his sore right shoulder. He will travel with the team to Texas, and he expects to have an MRI on Monday as part of his examination. The only thing definitive the right-hander could say about his problem was that there is inflammation in his shoulder.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.