Webb Finally Faces Live Batters

Former Arizona Diamondbacks ace Brandon Webb faced batters for the first time in almost 17 months in a simulated game Saturday. He threw 52 pitches and felt good the next day, re-opening the possibility that he will in fact pitch competitively in 2010.

Brandon Webb threw all three of his pitches on Saturday, with his fastball topping out in the low-80s.  He reportedly did not have good command, but did not feel anything unusual in the gimpy shoulder that has sidelined the former Cy Young winner for about a year-and-a-half.

"It feels pretty normal.," Webb told MLB.com.  "It feels like I pitched a game yesterday, so all signs are good."

Webb will not throw another session until Friday.  The Diamondbacks could use Webb out of the bullpen easily enough with the roster expansion that will occur on September first.

"It looks to me like he's going to pitch," pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. said. "It really does. I couldn't say that a month ago."

Webb will be a free agent at the end of this season.  He is unlikely to re-sign with the Diamondbacks if the club stands by its previous policy of not awarding incentive-laded contracts based on performance, as other clubs will no doubt offer Webb a low base salary with millions of dollars in incentives should Webb even approach the stellar kind of numbers he put up between 2006-2008. 

So other than giving their fan base a couple of final chances to see the greatest right-handed pitcher in Arizona Diamondbacks history pitch in a D-backs uniform, the Diamondbacks probably won't gain an awful lot from Webb's late-season return to the bump.

"I definitely need to prove to myself and everybody else that I can get people out," concluded Webb.


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