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Thursday, April 9, 2009
Stiff shoulders and red flags ...

In the wake of the news about Brandon Webb's shoulder, Robothal's follow-up report is at least a little bit scary:
  Mark J. Rebilas/US Presswire
  The Diamondbacks have said that Brandon Webb will miss his next start because of shoulder stiffness.
Webb was drafted and signed in 2000, and pitched just briefly in the minors.

In 2001, his first full professional season, he started 28 games, which is about as many as you can start in a minor-league season.

In 2002, he started 26 games.

In 2003 -- including that stint on the DL and a couple of weeks in the minors -- he started 31 games.

And from Opening Day in 2004 through today, Webb's No. 1 on the list with 170 starts in the majors, one start ahead of Derek Lowe and Johan Santana. He's No. 2 on the list with 1,139 innings (13 behind Santana).

So, yeah: He's been extremely durable.

He's also been extremely effective, and consistently so; Webb's strikeout and walk ratios have been essentially the same for four years running. Add it all up and what do you get? As one fantasy forecaster wrote this winter, "As close to a lock as you can get at SP."

The words "shoulder stiffness" are scary. So are the words "red flag." I'm a little scared, and I'm not even a Diamondbacks fan or a Brandon Webb fantasy owner.

But just a little scared. So far.