Brandon Webb begins 'long, long road to recovery'

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Out since Opening Day with a strained right shoulder, Brandon Webb has been throwing off flat ground for several weeks and is scheduled to take the next big step in what Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic calls “his long, long road to recovery” with a bullpen session Friday.

Webb said yesterday that his shoulder “has been pretty good” while he’s
avoided any setbacks. “I feel like this past week, the last three times
throwing, it’s been real good,” Webb said. “I think it just keeps
progressing. We’re moving in the right direction. It feels better than
it’s felt since the season started.”

Of course, Webb’s struggles actually extend back to last year, when
he went 3-3 with a 5.70 ERA in his final seven starts after beginning
the season 19-4 with a 2.74 ERA. As for when he’ll be ready to rejoin
the Diamondbacks’ rotation, Steve Gilbert of MLB.com writes:
“Mathematically it’s probably still possible for Webb to make it back
before the All-Star break, but it seems far more likely that it will
come sometime soon after.”

Playing without their injured ace since Opening Day, the
Diamondbacks have disappointed all season while posting the league’s
second-worst record at 27-38 to bring up the rear in the NL West.
Arizona is 16 games behind Los Angeles in the division and eight games
behind St. Louis in the Wild Card race, so even if Webb makes it back
at some point next month it may be too late.

Mike Moustakas sets Royals single-season record with 37th home run

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Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas belted his 37th home run on Wednesday evening, setting a new club record for homers in a single season. Moustakas had been tied with Steve Balboni, who hit 36 home runs in 1985.

The home run came on a 2-0, 82 MPH slider from Blue Jays reliever Carlos Ramirez, boosting the Royals’ lead to 13-0 in the top of the sixth inning.

Moustakas, 29, entered the night batting .271/.313/.523 with 82 RBI and 71 runs scored in 560 plate appearances.

Chris Sale records his 300th strikeout this season

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Red Sox starter Chris Sale recorded his 300th strikeout of the 2017 season on Wednesday night against the Orioles. The momentous occasion occurred with two outs in the eighth inning. Facing Ryan Flaherty, Sale threw a slider that caught the strike zone low and inside for called strike three.

Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strikeout 300-plus batters in a season in the last 15 years. Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson accomplished the feat in 2002, and Johnson also did it in 2001 and 2000. Pedro Martinez had been the only other Red Sox pitcher to have a 300-strikeout season.

Through eight scoreless innings, Sale limited the Orioles to four hits with no walks and 13 strikeouts. The Red Sox offense gave him plenty of run support. Mookie Betts and Devin Marrero each hit two-run home runs in the fourth. Hanley Ramirez added a two-run double in the sixth and Dustin Pedroia hit a two-run double of his own in the eighth to make it 8-0.