Brandon Webb #33 of the Texas Rangers participates in pitching drills at Surprise Stadium on February 18, 2011.
The former NL Cy Young winner and two-time second-place finisher hasn't pitched in a game in two years due to arm trouble.
But when he was good, he was really good. Webb is a rare breed being that he's a starting pitcher with one pitch. Normally, that's a closer. Mariano Rivera and his cutter. Neftali Feliz and his blistering fastball. But Webb basically has one pitch, a devastating sinker that drops like a bowling ball, and he's proven he can be a dominant, No. 1 starter when he was healthy.
If he can return to that form, Webb will replace Lee as the Rangers true, no doubt about it ace with two very solid No. 2s behind him in C.J. Wilson and Colby Lewis.
But we're a long way from that.
Webb spoke with Norm Hitzges on The Ticket-1310 AM on Friday morning and said he will not be ready to go on Opening Day. He threw to live hitters for the first time on Wednesday and is scheduled to do the same on Saturday though it's unknown if and when he'll pitch in a spring training game. My guess would be no.
He told Norm that he hopes to start the season in the minors and get a few minor league starts under his belt to build up his strength and command.
When asked about a timetable for his return to the big league roster, Webb said he doesn't deal with timetables.
"I've gotten away from working with timetables," Webb told Hitzges. "Over the past two years I've learned when you give a date, people will hold you to it. And when it doesn't happen they think something's wrong, so I don't do dates anymore."