Brandon Webb hasn't pitched since Opening Day 2009, when he was the ace for the Arizona Diamondbacks. He was coming off three straight seasons of finishing in the Top 2 of the Cy Young Award voting, winning it in 2006, and was poised for another great season.
Instead, he lasted four innings in the opener, and he hasn't pitched since due to arm trouble and subsequent surgery.
Now he says he's ready, and the Rangers are wisely giving him a shot at a reduced rate of $3 million for one year with tons of incentives thrown in based on workload and performance.
He's the wild card. The Rangers hope he'll fill a void left by Cliff Lee, who was the first ace the Rangers have had since Nolan Ryan was toeing the rubber.
So far, not so good.
He reported soreness after throwing a mound session on Thursday, which is to be expected for someone who hasn't pitched in two years. Now, the Rangers and pitching coach Mike Maddux have decided Webb will throw every third day instead of the usual every other day that pitchers work in Spring Training.
Apparently Webb isn't taking too kindly to the soft approach the Rangers are taking with him, but they're making the right move. Right now, he's still slated to start as the Rangers No. 3 starter behind C.J. Wilson and Colby Lewis and is slated to start on April 3 against the Red Sox.
If I'm Jon Daniels or Ron Washington, or even better, a cyborg mutation of the two, we'll call him Jon-Ron, I tell Brandon Webb he's starting the season in Round Rock, tell him Austin is a much more hip city than Dallas and to go work for a couple of weeks to be sure he's up to speed and up to his capabilities strength-wise.
There's no rush. Take it easy, B-Webb.