The Texas Rangers took a gamble in the offseason, signing former Cy Young winner Brandon Webb to a one-year deal in the hopes that the once-ace could return to form. He sort of did return to form! Unfortunately, that form was the more recent vintage -- the pitcher who was hurt too badly to pitch. Crushing news for Webb, as relayed by Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:
Rangers say that Brandon Webb is considering his options, one of which is rotator cuff surgery. He's likely done for the year.
Dang. There isn't a pitcher in recent memory who serves as a better example of how quickly a pitcher's fortunes can change. From 2006 through 2008, Webb finished second or better in every Cy Young vote. He averaged 227 innings pitched from 2004 through 2008, and was one of the best, most durable pitchers in the game. And then in 2009, he made a single start before going on the disabled list. That was the last the baseball world has seen of Brandon Webb.
Though he hasn't announced his retirement yet, it seems a little hard to imagine how Webb comes back. Rotator cuff surgery usually has a long recovery period, and there are never guarantees that the pitcher will regain his form. A tough story about one of the best sinker-ballers of his, or any other, generation.
Just the other day, technically-but-not-really Texas Ranger Brandon Webb made his first official minor league rehab start. After a few outings in extended spring training, Webb threw for AA Frisco, which was supposed to be a big step in his recovery. However, Webb was miserable over his 3-1/3 innings, allowing eight hits and walking two while hovering in the low- to mid-80s. And Thursday, we get this, via Jeff Wilson:
Brandon Webb taken off rehab with inflammation in his rotator cuff. Taking anti-inflammatories. Must be down 7 days before new assignment.
One step forward, one step back. Webb's shoulder is barking again, and he'll have to take a break before getting back to pitching. Meaning what was supposed to be a sign of progress is instead a sign of no movement, or at least no overall displacement.
Webb was a known gamble when the Rangers signed him as a free agent, and one probably shouldn't count on their getting anything out of him before he becomes a free agent again this coming fall.
Brandon Webb’s rehabilitation from major shoulder surgery continues apace, though not at a particularly quick pace. Webb, signed by the Rangers for $3 million last winter, hasn’t yet pitched in a real game this spring, but at least he’s pitching. :
Rangers pitcher Brandon Webb threw four innings in an extended spring game Thursday and said he hit 86 mph a handful of times with his fastball, likely averaging around 84 mph.
Obviously, 84’s not enough. But it’s better than before, and in Webb’s last good season (2008) he averaged just 88 miles an hour on his fastball. Of course, those last four m.p.h. are the toughest. Webb will pitch again next Tuesday, and no matter what happens then he doesn’t figure to show up on TV anytime soon.
Anyway, $3 million isn’t a great deal of money and with Alexi Ogando returning to the rotation Friday night, the Rangers’ big-league rotation is intact once again. But a little depth would be nice, and so Webb will keep trying to return to the majors for the first time in more than two years.
Brandon Webb is still trying to work his way back from major shoulder surgery. Lately he's been making appearances in extended spring training games for the Rangers, but on Wednesday, word's out that Webb has been scratched from future games.
The reason? He isn't hurt again - rather, the organization wants him to work on his mechanics in a bunch of bullpen sessions, rather than focus on throwing in games. They want his attention to go primarily to his delivery.
While Webb has been able to throw pain-free, his velocity has been well below where it was when he was a successful big league starter, and there's currently no timetable for when he'll be able to join the Rangers, if ever. He was a $3 million offseason investment, but he was known to be a risky investment, and he's still a long ways off from even earning consideration for the Major League roster.
Former All-Star sinkerballer Brandon Webb has had a long, long road to recovery from shoulder problems, and he threw two scoreless innings for the Texas Rangers in an extended spring training game. That's the encouraging news, but not everything went as expected. From ESPN.com's Jason Grey:
Webb done - two clean innings, 16 pitches - high stays at 84 - more tomorrow
Webb was never a fireballer, mind you, as his velocity usually hovers between 87 and 88 MPH when he's right, but any time a player comes back from major shoulder problems, his velocity is going to get scrutinized.
When the Rangers signed Webb, they obviously knew he was going to be a bit of a project - he's only pitched four innings since 2008 - but they were hoping he'd compete for a rotation spot in the spring. While that didn't happen, just getting Webb on a mound is a big step. They'll hope for more progress from here.