The beauty of Interleague Play -- or, in some cases, comedy -- is watching pitchers get their hacks in the batter's box.
The Rays are apparently getting another impact bat in their lineup for Sunday's series finale against the Rockies at Coors Field. Or at least that's what Tampa Bay right-hander Alex Cobb says as he prepares for his first-ever Interleague start in a National League park.
"I like to think of myself as Longo," said Cobb, while likening his hitting skills to Rays third baseman Evan Longoria's. "I had a decent average [in high school]. I think I had three or four home runs, nothing to talk about. I probably had a .350-to-.400 average."
Whether Cobb goes 0-for-3 or 3-for-3 at the plate, the Rays won't care as long as the young right-hander continues doing what he does best.
The 25-year-old Cobb has been Tampa Bay's workhorse this season, averaging more than seven innings per start -- the best in the Rays' rotation. He outdueled veteran Andy Pettitte two starts ago, tossing 8 1/3 scoreless innings against the Yankees, but surrendered four runs in 5 2/3 innings in his last outing against the Royals.
While the Rays may or may not be gaining an impact bat on Sunday, the Rockies are getting back two key players.
Right-hander Jhoulys Chacin, who has been the Rockies' best starter, will be activated from the 15-day disabled list after missing two turns because of a back strain.
Colorado also expects Todd Helton back, as the first baseman declared earlier in the weekend that his left forearm strain had healed. Helton, a .301 career hitter in Interleague Play, did not need a Minor League rehab assignment.
"He could wake up on Christmas morning, go out and hit two doubles," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said.
Rays: Pitching in Coors
Aside from making his first-ever Interleague start on the road, Cobb also is making his first appearance at Coors Field. Cobb said he asked Friday starter Matt Moore about pitching in Denver, and didn't really get a good answer.
"Nobody can really paint the picture for you," said Cobb, who said he played catch Friday on flat ground. "It's something you're going to have to go out there and kind of experience in your pregame bullpen. Flat ground is what it is, but it's something you're going to have to make adjustments in in bullpens and throughout the course of the game. "
• Jose Lobaton is hitting .467 with a double and two home runs on the road trip.
• Shortstop Yunel Escobar left Saturday's game after being hit by a pitch in the second inning. He is day to day with a left-hand contusion.
Rockies: Extra, extra!
The Rockies have an NL-leading 106 extra-base hits. Six players have at least 10 such hits: Carlos Gonzalez (16), Michael Cuddyer (15), Dexter Fowler (13), Troy Tulowitzki (13), Wilin Rosario (11) and Eric Young Jr. (10).
• Rookie Nolan Arenado has eight hits -- including two doubles, one home run and a grand slam -- in his first six games.
• The first 20,000 fans to Sunday's game will receive a Vinny Castilla bobblehead.
• Tampa Bay's James Loney is a .330 career hitter at Coors Field with 16 doubles, nine homers and 53 RBIs. His 53 RBIs are his most at any road ballpark.