Rays pitcher Alex Cobb, hit in the head with a liner June 15, said he's feeling better despite nausea, headaches and vertigo.


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Tampa Bay Rays right-hander Alex Cobb believes pitchers should have the option of wearing protective headgear on the mound.

Cobb, 25, returned to Tropicana Field on Monday, nine days after being struck in the right ear by a ball hit by Kansas City's Eric Hosmer and nearly seven weeks after Toronto's J.A. Happ also was hit in the head by a batted ball while pitching there. Cobb is out indefinitely with a concussion.

"I remember deciding what pitch to throw. ... I remember seeing the ball come back," Cobb said. "Might have caught a glance of the ball and subconsciously turned my head, thankfully."

The injury renewed debate about what can be done to protect pitchers from batted balls.

"Even after J.A. Happ went through this, we were asked pretty heavily about this topic. I came right out and thought there should be something for us to have the option to do," Cobb said.

Baseball officials have been in discussion with companies about ideas and designs for a protective liner that would fit under the baseball cap. Among the materials being discussed for the liners is Kevlar, a heavy-duty, high-impact substance used by law enforcement and the military.

"I don't want it to turn into something where every pitcher on the mound has to wear something," Cobb said. That's everybody's personal choice … to protect yourself, your future, your family."

Inside pitch

• Giants center fielder Angel Pagan is scheduled for surgery on Tuesday to repair a tendon in his left hamstring and is expected to be out another 12 weeks.

• The Yankees' Alex Rodriguez, rehabbing his hip, nearly hit two homers during batting practice against minor-league pitchers.

• Rookie Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler will make his second start tonight at the Chicago White Sox.

• Top Minnesota pitching prospect Kyle Gibson, 25, will make his major-league debut Saturday at home against Kansas City.

• Cleveland optioned righty Carlos Carrasco to Triple-A Columbus and recalled pitcher T.J. House, 23, who will pitch out of the bullpen for the Indians.

• The Orioles optioned veteran pitcher Freddy Garcia to Triple-A Norfolk, an assignment the right-hander can accept or declare himself a free agent.