The Continued Saga of Brandon Webb

Probably the most overused question during Spring Training with the Arizona Diamondbacks is, “How is Brandon Webb?” When staff ace Webb went down against the Colorado Rockies on Opening Day so did the hopes and dreams of Diamondbacks fans.

Throughout the 2009 season we were told Webb would be back shortly. Just a little rest and strength training is all he needed. This of course led to a glimmer of hope that was dashed with the news that Webb would need shoulder surgery.

As the season ended and Webb began recovery the news was once again positive. The procedure went extremely well and there was no reason to believe that Webb would not return to his dominating self.

The Diamondbacks held a team option for the 2010 season and based upon what they had heard they exercised the option even before Webb was able to throw a baseball in his rehab.

News continued to be positive. Rather than returning to Kentucky Webb would stay in Phoenix to work on his rehabilitation and he should be ready for Spring Training when it began in February. When pitchers and catchers reported to Tucson there was Webb throwing along side Dan Haren and Edwin Jackson.

While the Diamondbacks were being careful, the plan was still for Webb to break camp with the team and be on the Opening Day roster when the season opened at Chase Field against the San Diego Padres.

In early March plans were derailed a bit when Webb hit a plateau during his rehabilitation. He was briefly shutdown before beginning afresh with a new program that would build shoulder strength. The new program consists of long toss and other flat ground throwing drills.

Since March 4, Webb has not thrown from the mound and as of today there is still no timetable for when he will begin bullpen sessions or throw batting practice. Obviously any hopes of an Opening Day return have evaporated.

Webb himself is pointing to a mid-April return. That too seems unlikely. A starting pitcher needs approximately three weeks to be ready to pitch in a game. If Webb started throwing in a game situation today it would still be unlikely he would be ready by mid-April.

Unless things change soon Webb won’t be ready until early May. Any additional set backs would mean he will miss the first 20 percent of the season. I don’t even want to think about the possibility of another season losing one of their top two pitchers.

While Webb and Diamondbacks manager AJ Hinch are tired of answering the question regarding Webb’s health, they better get used to it because it’s not going to go away anytime soon. Hopefully by October the question will change to whether Webb will be returning to the Diamondbacks in 2011 to lead the team.


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