Diamondbacks' Brandon Webb Faces Slow Recovery

Josh LevittSenior Analyst IMarch 8, 2010

PHOENIX - APRIL 06:  Starting pitcher Brandon Webb #17 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches against the Colorado Rockies during the MLB openning day game at Chase Field on April 6, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Diamondbacks defeated the Rockies 9-8.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

After weeks of positive reviews, free agent to be Brandon Webb has experienced a set back:

Webb initially was going to throw to hitters Sunday or Monday, but that session was pushed back a couple of days. Manager A.J. Hinch said Webb might throw a bullpen session next instead of live batting practice, but did not set a date.

"He's not feeling bad, but he's not feeling strong," Hinch said. "It's not necessarily that unexpected. He is seven months post-surgery and these things get a little testy from time to time."

Webb, coming off shoulder surgery in August, was unavailable for comment before the Diamondbacks faced the Colorado Rockies in a split-squad game. But the 2006 NL Cy Young Award winner sent word through a team spokesman that he felt fine after playing catch.

Hinch has said Webb could pitch in his first spring game around the middle of the month. But Webb, who made only one start in 2009, likely will need to throw at least a couple more times before making his first start.

"He's not having trouble being on the mound," Hinch said. "He's not having trouble every time he throws a baseball like he did last season. He's in a little bit of a dead period in his rehab program that we're trying to get him past before we move him on."

Webb is so important to the 2010 Diamondbacks that the team has no reason to push him hard right now. Patience is the key word. As Webb looks forward towards free agency, teams might shy away from him if he spends considerable time on the DL, but Webb needs to do everything possible to perform at a high level for an extended period of time this season.

Even though the 2010 season has yet to officially begin, doubts are growing about Webb's ability to land a multi-year contract this winter. I hope he proves me wrong, but only time will tell.