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.

Bartolo Colon ain’t doing so hot this year

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If he wasn’t 44 years-old we’d just call it a slump, but the way Bartolo Colon is pitching right now makes you wonder if the end is nigh.

Colon was shelled this afternoon, giving up seven runs on ten hits and walking three in five innings of work to take the loss against the Pirates. That brings his ERA up to 6.96 on the year. He’s allowed five or more runs in five of his ten starts and opposing batters are hitting .320 against him. One of the big reasons he had been so effective into his 40s had been his low walk rate — he led the NL in this category for the past two seasons — but he’s walking more guys this year than last.

The Braves picked up Colon for the reasons a lot of rebuilding teams pick up veteran starters: to provide innings and stability until the younger arms of the future can mature. Colon, however, has been the weakest link of the Braves rotation.

At some point, every baseball player reaches the end. Almost all of them do it before the age of 44. One hopes, given his history and popularity that Colon is just experiencing a rough patch and that, by mid season, he’ll be reliably pumping strikes into the zone the way he has the past few seasons. But with each bad start he registers this year, that’s seeming like more and more of a stretch.

Braves designate Josh Collmenter for assignment

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Last night Braves reliever Josh Collmenter surrendered three homers and seven runs in the 10th inning of a loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. He came into the game when it was tied 5-5 so, yeah, ouch. Today Collmenter is on his way to no longer being a Braves reliever as he has been designated for assignment.

Collmenter made 11 appearances for the Braves, going 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA in 17 innings. If he doesn’t latch on someplace else he can take heart that his final act in the big leagues was striking out former MVP Andrew McCutchen. If only he hadn’t surrendered consecutive homers to David Freese, Jose Osuna and Jordy Mercer just before that. Oh well. Take the good with the bad.

Right-hander Matt Wisler, who has been no great shakes in the bigs himself, was called up from Triple-A Gwinnett before today’s series finale against the Pirates. He’s currently throwing mopup duty for Bartolo Colon, who got shelled for seven runs in four innings.

Given how Colon is going, maybe the Braves will be thinking about some more transactions soon.