May 2010

Webb on cusp: can he make it back this year?

PHOENIX — It is almost June and the possibility of Brandon Webb
returning to the D-back this season is growing doubtful. The
right-handed pitcher hasn’t thrown off a mound since March 4 and he
hasn’t thrown in a game since Opening Day of the 2009 season.

He
had surgery last August to clean out his right shoulder and the recovery
progress has been agonizingly slow. When his arm is strong enough it
will be at least a month of progressing from pitching to live batters,
to simulated games, to Minor League rehab starts before he’s ready to
throw again in the Major Leagues, D-backs manager A.J. Hinch said on
Friday. And that’s without any further setbacks.

The D-backs have
long ago ceased to establish anymore timetables, all of them having
gone by the wayside as Spring Training turned into the regular season
and the months have progressed.

Webb’s $8.5 million contract
expires at the end of the season. There are no more options. Thus, while
the chances of him pitching again by the All-Star break are nil, the
chances of him throwing in a D-backs uniform again are exceedingly dim.

Webb
looked the happiest he’s been in months on Friday when he came off the
field after a throwing session. For the second day in a row at Chase
Field he threw nice and easy on flat ground from about 90 feet, having
adjusted his arm slot a little lower. Webb was ecstatic, which is good
news. Where it goes from here is anybody’s guess.

As the season
inexorably moves on no one in the D-backs camp is yet willing to count
the former National League Cy Young Award winner out. But the calender
doesn’t lie. Webb has four months.

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