Giants notes: Melvin provides injury updates on pitchers Cobb, Ray

Giants notes: Melvin provides injury updates on pitchers Cobb, Ray originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Before the start of a three-game series against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Field, Giants manager Bob Melvin said right-hander Alex Cobb likely would get back on a mound over the next week. Melvin later clarified that Cobb actually already had thrown off a mound. Kind of.

For his latest game of catch, Cobb stood on the rubber and threw to a catcher standing in front of home plate. The hope is that next week he can start letting it rip to a catcher in the crouch. Cobb’s shoulder is feeling much better, but until he has a normal bullpen session, the Giants won’t have a full idea of how he’s progressing.

The path is more set in stone for another rehabbing veteran.

Robbie Ray threw two hitless innings in an Arizona Complex League game on Saturday, striking out five. He has whiffed eight of the 10 batters he has faced in two rehab appearances, although the opposing hitters are all young minor leaguers who haven't even reached A-ball yet. The important thing is Ray's velocity has been good, per Melvin, and he's right on track in his rehab from Tommy John surgery.

"At least he's on his way now," Melvin said. "We knew that the earliest it would probably be is right around the All-Star break. We're probably still on schedule for that. Typically these things hit a bump along the way. It hasn't yet -- knock on wood. I know he feels great."

Ray is not quite ready to return to the Bay Area, but once he does, he'll make rehab starts with Low-A San Jose and Triple-A Sacramento.

Back in Action?

A day after laying out in an attempt to catch a ninth-inning bloop, Matt Chapman was out of the starting lineup on Sunday. Chapman felt a hamstring cramp on the attempt and had some other soreness, but he was feeling much better after a day of treatment.

“We’ll see if he needs one more day,” Melvin said. “Knowing him, that’s usually not the case, but he needed today for a number of reasons.”

The injury was minor but might have been enough to make a big difference for two young players. The lineup originally had Tyler Fitzgerald and Brett Wisely on the left side of the infield, but Casey Schmitt ended up getting the start at third after Fitzgerald was optioned to Triple-A. Schmitt is the organization’s second-best third baseman and will start if Chapman needs another day or two.

A Memorable Stretch

Spencer Howard's first appearance with the Giants came against the Philadelphia Phillies, who drafted him years ago. His first start came against a Rangers organization he pitched for the past three seasons. In between, Howard pitched at Chase Field in Phoenix, allowing him to spend a few nights sleeping in his own bed.

"It's been pretty cool," he said of the stretch.

The highlight might actually have come off the field. Howard made three relief appearances for the Rangers last season, so on Friday a couple of team executives came over and presented him with a World Series ring.

Family Ties

Bruce Bochy and Donnie Ecker aren't the only ones on the Rangers staff with serious ties to the Giants. Associate manager Will Venable is the son of former Giant Max Venable, and bullpen catcher Chase Casali is the younger brother of Curt Casali.

When Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin recruited Curt years ago, Chase, then just eight years old, told Corbin that he also would play at Vanderbilt one day. Chase ended up being a student manager for Vandy baseball and now is part of Bochy's staff in Arlington.

It was a proud reunion for big brother, although he joked that Chase now has family bragging rights. He won a national title at Vanderbilt and got an MLB ring last season.

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