Results tagged ‘ Brandon Webb ’

Monday notes from D-backs camp

Today’s main story was on Chris Young and all the work he put in during the offseason.

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– There was plenty of sun Monday, but the weather still delayed things as the D-backs had to wait more than an hour to get started in the morning due to wet fields.

“We practiced our rain delay today,” manager A.J. Hinch said jokingly.

The D-backs were able to get in all their work with just a few grumbles about the long day. There will be one more session of live batting practice Tuesday and Wednesday they will look to go through their workouts over at Tucson Electric Park in anticipation of Thursday’s opener.

– Hinch announced that Rodrigo Lopez, who is battling for the fifth spot in the rotation, will start Monday’s game against the Indians as well as the March 14 game in Hermosillo, Mexico.

– D-backs special assistant to the GM Bob Gebhard has been back in camp after suffering a heart attack last week.

Taking a couple of days off was all Gebhard could manage. In fact, he tried to convince his doctor to let him go back to the office the day he was released from the hospital after having a pair of stents put in.

– Seems like the most asked question has moved on from Hinch’s relative lack of experience in the dugout to how he is going to handle his catching corps.

To restate, Miguel Montero is the starter heading into camp, but Hinch says that doesn’t mean that Chris Snyder is going to be buried on the bench. He is reluctant to get into how much playing time each is going to get, but says it will not be a strict platoon situation.

Hinch said pitchers would not have “personal catchers” and it will be interesting to see how that plays out with Brandon Webb, who is used to having Snyder catch him. The two have a very close relationship and Webb relies on Snyder game-calling ability.

Friday scribblings from D-backs camp

A little bit of a late start for the D-backs today as they had their annual meeting with the Players Association in the morning.

– Tony Abreu left camp on Friday to attend to a family issue, but is not expected to miss much time and could be back as soon as Saturday.

– Brandon Webb had a “really good” long-toss session Friday according to pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr.

One of the issues that Webb has faced in his comeback is getting his timing/mechanics down. One trick that Stottlemyre tried with him Friday that paid dividends was rolling the ball to him before he threw, that way he had his feet moving and that prompted him to get his arm up and into the right position quicker.

All three bullpen sessions Webb has thrown so far this spring have been separate from his teammates, but he’s feeling good enough now that he’s going to throw his next session Sunday with the other pitchers.

– Third baseman Mark Reynolds and outfielder Justin Upton wore wireless mics for a Major League Baseball Productions feature.

“I don’t think I’ve said anything interesting,” Reynolds said near the end of the workout.

– Dan Haren looked sharp while throwing a live batting practice session.

“He was painting as usual,” Reynolds said alluding to Haren’s pinpoint control even this early in camp.

For Haren the session helped jump start where his progress this spring.

“I was getting to a lull period where I was getting to the point where I needed to be,” Haren said. “It’s amazing you get a hitter standing in there and the adrenaline pumping and everything seemed right. I’m happy with the way today went.”

Each year Haren tries to work on something to improve and try and get better. One thing is trying to improve his second halves which have caused him some issues the past couple of years.

“I’m going to do a little more maintenance stuff during the season and try to be better toward the end,” Haren said. “Hopefully I’ll get off to a good start, I’ve had the ability to do that the last few years and just keep that momentum throughout and hopefully come the second half we’re playing for something and that always makes it easier.”

That Haren has had some good stretches in the second half is proof to him that it’s not a physical issue.

“It’s definitely not a fatigue thing,” he said. “It’s the ability to bounce back after a rough one and some of it can be mental more than physical because my stuff is there at the end of the year. You get hit around one or two times in the big leagues it’s not easy to get out there that third time. You lose a little bit of confidence.”

Webb or Haren for the opener?

I read with interest Nick Piecoro’s story in The Arizona Republic yesterday about whether Brandon Webb or Dan Haren would start on Opening Day.

Like Nick I have tried to get D-backs skipper A.J. Hinch to answer that question, but he has decided to wait until Friday to make his decision public. No doubt he has probably talked to both pitchers about it by now, or at least he will have by the time he meets with the media Friday afternoon.

I have no inside information, but I’m going to guess that Hinch will choose Webb. I don’t think it would be wrong for him to pick either one of them and he may very well go with Haren, but something tells me that he will go with Webb.

Really, once the first game is out of the way it really doesn’t matter who the Opening Day starter is as rotations get jumbled up pretty good over the course of 162 games. It is, however, considered an honor to start the opener.

Feel free to post your thoughts in the comments section as to who you would start April 5.

Webb, Qualls and Snyder making progress

Checked in with D-backs general manager Josh Byrnes today about the health of Brandon Webb, Chad Qualls and Chris Snyder.

Webb (shoulder) continues to make progress and threw off the mound for the second time Friday. He’ll throw at least one more bullpen session before reporting to Tucson for next Saturday’s first workout for pitchers and catchers.

Qualls (knee) turned the corner in his recovery in Dec. and has been throwing off the mound and should be ready for the start of camp. It’s possible the team will have him throw a couple fewer innings than normal during the Cactus League as a precaution. Short relievers need less time to get ready obviously than starting pitchers so whether he winds up throwing 10 or seven innings this spring should not matter.

“I don’t think he needs six weeks to be ready,” Byrnes said. “So I think we will assess what is necessary for him to do, but he’s ready to go.”

Snyder (back) has caught at least one of Webb’s bullpen session and is also on pace to be a full go when camp opens.

“Snyder looks great,” Byrnes said. “Like with the others, we will be smart about it, but watching him, he looks real good right now.”

Notes from Chase Field

They allowed us in to watch the D-backs workout today at Chase Field. A few notes of interest:

– Mark Reynolds talked about the possibility of a contract extension being worked out. Wrote quite a bit about that here. If you want to read about managing general partner Ken Kendrick’s feelings on multi-year deals, check the bottom of this story from earlier in the week.

– Brandon Webb had another throwing session. Nothing seems new since the last time I caught up with him. He is still on pace to throw off the mound for the first time Tuesday. Pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. is coming in town to observe the session.

Overall Webb said he remains encouraged and still thinks he will be ready to go come Opening Day.

– Reynolds has the initials JAR stitched into his glove. They are for his son Jacob Andrew Ryan, who was born Oct. 16. Andrew is apparently a big name in the Reynolds family as Mark and his father among others have it as their middle name.

– Speaking of new arrivals, the Haren’s had a little girl just a couple of weeks ago. Ella Dani Haren. Ella is doing well, but dad is a little short on sleep these days.

– Conor Jackson said he planned on wearing a t-shirt this spring that reads “I feel good”. How he’s doing is on a lot of people’s minds after he missed most of last season with Valley Fever. Through Instructional League last fall and winter ball in the Dominican Republic, Jackson says he has felt good.
 

Photos of Webb throwing at Chase Field

Here are some photos I took today at Chase Field of the D-backs open to the media workout. I know the quality is not great, but I was taking them with my Blackberry camera so be kind. (OK, so I’m still not sure on how to size these things properly so I apologize for the stretched out nature of them).

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Webb starts playing long toss to warm up.

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This is Webb starting to throw his flat ground session from 60 feet under the watchful eyes of trainer Ken Krenshaw.

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One more of Webb playing long toss.

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Conor Jackson speaks with reporters after playing catch.

Webb not on next trip

Spent some time catching up with Brandon Webb this morning. The right-hander is not going to be on the upcoming road trip with his teammates because his wife Alicia is due to give birth to the couple’s second child soon.

Webb will continue to work on his shoulder rehab. He said he has had no discussions with the D-backs regarding his $8.5 million option for next year.

The D-backs have to make the decision within five days after the
completion of the World Series. Webb should be able to play catch by
that point, but he will not be throwing off the mound, which will make
the decision a tough one.

D-backs GM Josh Byrnes was asked about it Sunday when he was on the team’s FOX Sports Arizona broadcast and said that if the decision is close that Webb “will probably get the benefit of the doubt.” Byrnes said that was based on what Webb had done in the past for the D-backs.

Webb inching towards mound

Brandon Webb is creeping closer and closer to that elusive first bullpen session.

If it seems like I’ve been writing about that possibility for a while now, well it’s because I have. Webb threw a side session on flat ground here at Kauffman Stadium before batting practice and told us afterwards that he expects to get on the mound for a bullpen session Friday.

“It’s the best I’ve felt since Spring Training,” Webb said. “I’m pretty pumped.”

The D-backs could sorely use their ace back. Webb has not pitched since Opening Day and they’ve been extra cautious with his rehab since he suffered a bit of a setback when he tried to hurry his return in late April.

D-backs manager A.J. Hinch was explaining to us before the game that bringing a pitcher back from a shoulder injury is tough because a shoulder is always going to have a little bit of soreness after throwing and the question is how much that soreness is normal and how much is related to the injury itself.

It sounds like right now the D-backs want to make sure almost all the soreness is out of there before they let him get back on the mound.

Mathmatically it’s probably still possible for Webb to make it back before the All-Star Break, but it seems far more likely that it will come sometime soon after.

Webb plays catch

It was a small step, a very tiny step, but when it involves an ace pitcher, it gets some attention.

Brandon Webb played catch for five minutes in a batting cage located in the bowls of Turner Field on Friday.

It’s the first time Webb has thrown since being shut down on April 24, though, he emphasized that it was a very light game of catch and that one of the reasons it was done in the batting cage was so that he would not be tempted to throw from a longer distance or push things.

Webb initially felt some stiffness in his right shoulder towards the end of Spring Training and again during his start on Opening Day. Following that game he was placed on the disabled list. When he began to play catch after that he also felt good, but eventually the stiffness returned and he was shut down again.

“We’re taking it slow day-by-day and see how I feel,” Webb said. “It feels different than it did the last time.”

There is still a long way to go before Webb returns to the active roster. He estimates that it will be three weeks before he can begin a Minor League rehab assignment and that is if everything goes according to plan with no setbacks.

“That’s a great way to start to the road trip to have that news,” Hinch said of Webb’s session of catch.

Flash

I am off today and tomorrow so I apologize for the lack of posts today and in advance for not having many if any tomorrow.

Couple of quick things:

– Not being there, I don’t have any details on the Brandon Webb situation other than what my fine colleague Jesse Sanchez reported. It’s not a good thing for the D-backs to be without their ace pitcher, but it seems to me right now their biggest problem is offensively.

– I spoke with Tom Gordon the other day about the number of walks that he’s had during his rehab starts. He explained that one of the reasons was that he was throwing his curveball in situations that he didn’t need to in a Triple-A game, but that he thought might come in handy when he gets back to the big leagues.

For instance, he talked about throwing one with a 3-2 count on a hitter simply because he feels at some point when he comes off the DL there might be a situation in which throwing the curve on a 3-2 pitch would catch a hitter off guard.

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