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Monday, May 30, 2011
Brandon Webb makes first rehab start

By Richard Durrett
ESPNDallas.com

FRISCO, Texas -- Texas Rangers pitcher and former Cy Young Award winner Brandon Webb, making his first appearance in an official game in more than two years, allowed five runs on eight hits in 3 1/3 innings in a rehab game for Double-A Frisco on Monday.

Webb had two walks and two strikeouts and hit a batter in throwing 77 pitches, 47 of them strikes. The right-hander, who had shoulder debridement surgery (cleaning out loose debris and inflamed tissue) in August 2009, said he was nervous as the first batter came to home plate and was glad to be back on a mound in a real game.

"It was fun," Webb said. "It was different definitely than Arizona. I felt OK, which is the main thing.

"The pitches that they hit were up. At least four hitters I know it was 0-2, 1-2 and that used to be a straight changeup and a strikeout every time. I went to it and it was up in the zone every time. I wasn't able to put them away when I wanted to. I fell behind a lot of hitters, tried to elevate and it came back over the plate and they hit it. But it was my first time out there."

Webb has been working on his mechanics the past few months in extended spring training in Arizona with Keith Comstock, the Rangers' rehab pitching coordinator, in an effort to add velocity to his fastball. On Monday, he was clocked at 83 to 84 mph and touched 85 mph once in the first inning.

"I feel like I let them go and it sounds hard and I'm like, 'That's pretty good,'" Webb said. "And I look up and it's 84. I don't know when it's going to come back or if it will. Hopefully it does."

The Rangers signed the 32-year-old Webb as a free agent in the offseason, giving him $3 million guaranteed with the possibility to earn another $5 million in incentives. He's been out since Opening Day 2009 because of shoulder issues, and Texas signed him hoping he could regain his 2006 Cy Young form or something close to it.

Now that Webb has thrown in a Double-A game, his rehab clock has started. Texas has 30 days to activate him or put him back on the disabled list. Frisco heads out of town this week, so it's possible that Webb's next start could be for Triple-A Round Rock.

He gave up three singles and a walk to his first four batters as the Tulsa Drillers, Colorado's affiliate, scored two runs in the first. A one-out walk to Mike Mitchell, the No. 9 hitter, hurt Webb in the second as Mitchell came around to score on a sacrifice fly. A leadoff double in the third helped Tulsa add another run as Darin Holcomb doubled and scored on a sacrifice fly two batters later.

The fifth run was charged to Webb when it was given up by reliever Adalberto Flores in the fourth. Two of the 10 outs recorded while Webb was pitching occurred on the bases.

Richard Durrett covers the Rangers for ESPNDallas.com.