Boxberger begins rehab process after surgery

Right-handed reliever expected to be out 8 weeks

Boxberger begins rehab process after surgery

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The rehab process for Rays closer Brad Boxberger has begun.

Expected to miss eight weeks due to surgery to repair an adductor brevis muscle, the right-hander said he started doing light tossing and will be focused on strengthening core muscles.

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"Just to be back here, to be back with the team, is a great feeling and [getting] back in the swing of things," Boxberger said. "From what the doctors said, it's based on how I feel with how it progresses. The better I feel, the faster it goes."

Boxberger said he originally felt discomfort prior to his first spring outing on March 6. At the time, he felt it was nothing more than a "twinge."

"I thought I might have tweaked something and could take a couple days off and be good to go," Boxberger said. "I pitched through the two outings, and after that, it really didn't get any better or make any progress like a normal strain would have."

After that, an MRI followed, which revealed that the muscle would not heal more quickly just based on rehabbing. Boxberger said those who underwent surgery had a more successful recovery.

"It gave me the peace of mind that the muscle was back where it had to be and that everything was good to go," Boxberger said.

Boxberger, who had a 3.71 ERA and 41 saves in 69 games last season, figured to be the centerpiece of the Tampa Bay bullpen this year. With a mid-March surgery, that would mean that Boxberger would be expected to return in mid-May.

In the meantime, the Rays will use a closer-by-committee approach with Alex Colome expected to get the biggest look. Whoever ends up getting the bulk of the work, Boxberger is confident that the bullpen will hold up.

"I think they'll be able to handle anything that's thrown at them, whether they go by matchups or one guy falls into that position," Boxberger said. "They have the staff to do it, to pick up the slack."

Greg Zeck is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.