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Tuesday, April 26, 2011
ESPN.com's Grey analyzes Brandon Webb

By Richard Durrett


ESPN.com's Jason Grey was at Brandon Webb's two-inning start in extended spring in Arizona on Monday and filed a report about it. You can read the complete entry here on his blog (insider). Here is part of it:
Let me cut to the chase: Even for a first outing in a long time, I expected more. Quite a bit more.

As I tweeted yesterday, the good news was that Webb needed just 16 pitches to work two clean innings against the Seattle Mariners' extended spring training team, throwing strikes on 13 of them. The bad news is in the following pitch chart of his outing.

1st inning, Batter 1: 78 (mph) fastball (called strike), 80 fastball (broken bat ground out to third)
1st inning, Batter 2: 80 fastball (ball), 81 fastball (fly out to left)
1st inning, Batter 3: 81 fastball (ball), 84 fastball (called), 69 curve ball (swinging strike), 71 changeup (swinging strikeout)

2nd inning, Batter 1: 79 fastball (ball), 80 fastball (foul), 80 fastball (ground out to short)
2nd inning, Batter 2: 80 fastball (ground out to second)
2nd inning, Batter 3: 79 fastball (called strike), 65 curve ball (called strike), 82 fastball (foul), 71 changeup (ground out to the pitcher)

The area of concern is obvious: 12 fastballs -- one 84 mph, one 82, the rest 78-81. The Rangers gun corroborated my gun readings in the first inning, and the Rangers used my numbers in the second when their gun malfunctioned. Like I said, I expected more this far removed from his surgery, even at this stage of his season. The sink was there on the fastball, but the velocity was not.

How did Webb feel the outing went?

"Better than expected actually," Webb said. "In the bullpen, I was all over the place, but I was throwing strikes, the movement was good, and two quick innings. Overall, I was real happy. I haven't been able to get up and down and pitch innings. I've been more about mass quantities [of pitches], like 60 pitches in one session. The up and down will be good."

After the outing, Webb was seen talking about his arm slot and release point with Rangers' rehab pitching coordinator Keith Comstock. I asked Webb if he was concerned about his velocity at this stage.

"No, not right now," Webb said. "[Comstock] feels like there's more clicks in there, and I do too. I feel like there's definitely some more in there. I'm not too far off. 84 is a little low. When I was good I was probably 86-89, topping at 90 or so. If I can get back to 86-88 I think I'll be alright."

Again, you can read the entire entry here if you have insider access.