Webb Will Try To Return As Reliever

Brandon Webb tells MLB.com's Steve Gilbert that if the Arizona ace is able to pitch at all in 2010, it will be out of the Diamondbacks' bullpen.  Webb threw a bullpen session last weekend and plans to stick to long-toss sessions for the next two weeks, with an eye towards a very tentative September 1 return date.

"I feel like if I get my velocity, if I throw a couple of 'pens and a couple of simulated games, it'll be right around Sept. 1 and no Minor Leagues are going to be playing, they'll be done. I'll have to throw out of the 'pen here," Webb said.

Perhaps the most important factor in Webb's decision lies in the last line of Gilbert's piece, where he notes that Webb wants to get some major league innings under his belt this season as he goes into free agency.  Whereas another pitcher might want to save his arm rather than risk further injury in a meaningless September game for the last-place D'Backs, Webb would prefer to prove his health now rather than take part in offseason throwing sessions a la Ben Sheets.  (Then again, Sheets was still able to sign a one-year, $10MM deal with Oakland despite having a more checkered injury history than Webb currently does.)

Webb hasn't pitched in a major league game since April 6, 2009 due to shoulder surgery.  The Diamondbacks took the risk and picked up his 2010 club option worth $8.5MM last November, but a number of setbacks have kept Webb off the mound.  Even with these injury problems, Webb will surely attract lots of interest from teams looking to sign the 2006 NL Cy Young Award winner to a short-term and/or incentives-laden contract.