Oblique injury puts opener in jeopardy for Franklin

Several Rays players making progress on road back to full strength

Oblique injury puts opener in jeopardy for Franklin

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Nick Franklin joined the list of injured Rays on Monday, and the infielder could miss the start of the season.

The candidate to play second base tweaked his left oblique on his last swing of batting practice prior to the game. When asked if the injury might delay the start of his season, Franklin told reporters, "Yeah, absolutely."

"I know they don't want to rush it," Franklin said. "It's something if you rush it, it can probably end up making it worse. I'm just going based off them."

Franklin said he did not know the timetable for his recovery.

"I just know I'm going to be in there for treatment every single day," Franklin said.

Manager Kevin Cash said he felt bad for Franklin.

"I don't think he ever had an Opening Day before. If he hasn't, that stinks," Cash said. "The guy's worked hard, and then he has that with two weeks left. That's unfortunate."

Outlook: Franklin, 2B/SS, TB

Here's an update on how others are progressing:

Drew Smyly (left shoulder tendinitis) had a bullpen session on Monday, throwing 30 fastballs. Cash said the left-hander "felt good" and that Smyly is expected to throw another bullpen after two days' rest.

Alex Cobb (right forearm tendinitis) said that he felt good. He is scheduled to visit team orthopedic Dr. Koco Eaton on Tuesday.

Ronald Belisario (left shoulder fracture) said he will throw his first bullpen session on Thursday. Cash told reporters that the right-hander had been impressive throwing off flat ground. He added that Belisario told him he does not need a lot of work to become game-ready.

Alex Colome (pneumonia) has rediscovered his appetite, gaining back five of the 10 pounds he lost while he was in the hospital. He threw a 20-pitch bullpen session on Monday, and he said he felt good.

Grant Balfour made his first appearance in a game this spring in Monday's 7-6 loss to the Pirates. The veteran reliever missed 18 days of camp to be in Australia tending to his father, who died after a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer. Balfour allowed a home run to Gorkys Hernandez in one inning on the mound, and he said his mechanics felt good.

• Outfielder Steven Souza Jr. (right forearm stiffness) was back to full activity, and he played in Monday afternoon's game. He was hit by a pitch on his left wrist and left the game, but he was scheduled to leave anyway. Souza told reporters that he was fine.

• Fellow outfielder Brandon Guyer had the day off due to a mild ankle sprain. He is expected to play in a Minor League game on Wednesday, at which time he can have six to nine at-bats.

• Catcher Rene Rivera (left calf tightness) took swings on Monday, and he is expected to return to catching duties after Tuesday's off-day.

Jake McGee (left elbow surgery) will throw a bullpen session at the Rays' Minor League complex on Tuesday.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.