SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) – Brandon Webb is going to have to wait a little longer to get back on the mound.
The Texas Rangers want to be cautious with Webb, a former NL Cy Young Award winner who hasn’t pitched in a major league game since the 2009 opener for Arizona following shoulder surgery.
“I still feel good. They just wanted me to build up more arm strength. … They don’t want to set me back a month or two,” Webb said Monday. “I feel fine, totally fine. It’s not a serious situation, don’t make it out to be a serious situation. It’s not serious at all. I’m not set too back at all.”
His rehabilitation included four innings over 1 1/2 weeks in the instructional league in October. He threw a couple of times off a mound before reporting to spring training, then had a short bullpen session Thursday during the first workout for pitchers and catchers.
Webb said he still is doing a lot of throwing, and threw off flat ground Monday.
“You can see by my face how it went,” Webb said with a wide smile across his face.
After losing ace left-hander Cliff Lee in free agency, the AL champion Rangers are hoping for Webb’s to become part of their rotation. Webb has said his goal is to be ready for the start of the season.
“We don’t have any level of concern right now,” manager Ron Washington said. “We’re trying to make sure his arm’s strong enough to do the things he needs to do to start competing.”
Before getting hurt, Webb was among the NL’s top pitchers.
He developed shoulder trouble after pitching more than 200 innings in five consecutive seasons. He had surgery in August 2009, then missed all of last season after pushing himself too hard to try to get back on the mound.
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said last week that while Webb was medically cleared to pitch, the team would be cautious and “may try to rein him” early in spring training to make sure he is healthy for the season.
Texas signed the 2006 NL Cy Young winner to a $3 million, one-year deal with the chance to earn another $5 million in performance bonuses. That deal in January came just weeks after Lee, another former Cy Young winner, left as a free agent to rejoin the Philadelphia Phillies.
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