Daily Dose: Brandon Webb doesn't need shoulder surgery

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After being examined by three different doctors in three different
states this week Brandon Webb was told that he doesn’t need shoulder
surgery. However, he has also been advised not to throw for at least
another six weeks and is not expected to come off the disabled list
before September, if at all this year. Even if he’s not going to pitch
again this season Webb’s recovery is vital to his status for 2010.

Arizona holds an $8 million option on Webb for next year, along with
a $2 million buyout, so as long as he can avoid another setback while
making some progress the team seems almost certain to bring him back.
However, the Diamondbacks’ decision to pull a long-term contract offer
from the table in the middle of last year because of concerns about
Webb’s health now looks brilliant.

While one of the most durable pitchers of this era faces the
possibility of making just one start this season, here are some other
notes from around baseball …

* Fredi Gonzalez continues to say that the Marlins will use a
closer-by-committee approach with Matt Lindstrom sidelined, but Leo
Nunez picked up his fourth save Wednesday while Dan Meyer set him up by
working the eighth inning. Those are the only two real candidates for
ninth-inning duties at the moment, so Nunez has clearly taken over
primary closing duties until further notice.

* Koji Uehara was off to a nice start after coming over from Japan
this offseason, posting a 4.05 ERA and 48/12 K/BB ratio in 67 innings
before last week’s trip to the disabled list with an elbow strain.
After further tests he’s been diagnosed with a partially torn flexor
tendon, which is expected to sideline the 34-year-old for six weeks at
minimum. David Hernandez will replace him and has AL-only potential.

* On the heels of trading Lastings Milledge to the Pirates, the
Nationals demoted Elijah Dukes to Triple-A on Wednesday. Dukes is
similar to Milledge in that he’s disappointed offensively and
defensively while bringing various off-field issues to the table, but
also like Milledge he still has plenty of long-term upside and turned 25 years old last week. If the Nationals deal Dukes, they’ll be selling low again.

* Mike Aviles came out of nowhere to hit .325 as a 27-year-old rookie,
but hit just .183 through 36 games this season before being placed on
the disabled list with a strained forearm. His forearm soreness turned
out to be a torn elbow ligament and the Royals announced Wednesday that
he’ll undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery. Aviles now faces 9-12
months of recovery and an uncertain future.

AL Quick Hits: Alex Rodriguez homered Wednesday and has gone
deep in four of the past six games … Frank Francisco blew the save
Wednesday just hours after Ron Washington announced that he’d reclaimed
closer duties … Jason Bay struck out in all five of his at-bats
Wednesday and is in a 0-for-15 slump … Ervin Santana (triceps) is
scheduled to rejoin the rotation on Friday, according to Mike Scioscia
… Alexei Ramirez is headed for X-rays after exiting Wednesday’s game
with a finger injury … Brad Bergeson held Boston to one run over eight
innings Wednesday, but relievers blew a four-run lead … Initially set
to return Saturday, Erik Bedard (shoulder) is now due to come off the
disabled list Tuesday … Jered Weaver allowed a season-high seven runs
in a no-decision Wednesday … Jose Contreras threw eight innings of
two-run ball Wednesday, whiffing eight … Justin Morneau, Nick Punto,
and Mike Redmond left Wednesday’s game with injuries.

NL Quick Hits: Cole Hamels was knocked around for seven runs
Wednesday to leave his ERA at 4.98 … Adam Wainwright had a career-high
12 strikeouts and allowed one run in nine innings Wednesday, but took a
no-decision … Matt Diaz made a rare start Wednesday, going 3-for-5 with
a homer to put his OPS above .800 … Randy Wells induced a dozen
ground-ball outs while giving up one run in seven innings Wednesday,
giving him a 2.43 ERA in 10 starts … Jason Hammel took a complete-game
loss Wednesday despite allowing just one run because Clayton Kershaw
combined with three relievers for a shutout … Jair Jurrjens had seven
innings of one-run, one-hit ball Wednesday to even his mark at 6-6 …
San Diego is shopping Kevin Kouzmanoff, with Seattle said to be
interested … Colby Rasmus delivered a walk-off homer Wednesday after
Pablo Sandoval dropped a foul ball … Johnny Cueto tossed six shutout
innings in a 1-0 victory Wednesday.

Orioles interested in Denard Span

Denard Span
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
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MASN’s Roch Kubatko is reporting that the Orioles have “some level” of interest in free agent outfielder Denard Span. The Nationals did not make a $15.8 million qualifying offer to Span, which means he doesn’t come attached with draft pick compensation unlike other free agents such as Alex Gordon and Dexter Fowler.

Span, who turns 32 in February, hit a solid .301/.365/.431 with five home runs, 22 RBI, 38 runs scored, and 11 stolen bases, but took only 275 plate appearances due to back and hip injuries. He underwent season-ending hip surgery in September but is expected to be ready to participate in spring training.

The Mets and Royals have also reportedly shown interest in Span’s services.

Blue Jays showing interest in Ryan Madson

Ryan Madson
AP Photo/Orlin Wagner
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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Blue Jays are on the prowl for relievers with closing experience. Ryan Madson is one of the names on their list.

Madson, 35, had a career rebirth with the Royals in 2015. He signed a minor league deal with the club that paid him a salary of $850,000 if he made it back to the majors. Due to a plethora of arm injuries, Madson hadn’t pitched in the majors since Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS against the Cardinals as a member of the Phillies. For the Royals, he wound up becoming a crucial member of the bullpen, finishing with a 2.13 ERA and a 58/14 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings.

While Madson allowed five runs in 8 1/3 post-season innings, he pitched well when it mattered most, as he hurled three scoreless frames in three appearances in the World Series against the Mets.

Madson has closing experience, with 55 career saves. 32 of them came in 2011 when he took over the closer’s role from Brad Lidge.

After signing Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ, and trading for Jesse Chavez, the Jays have bolstered their rotation but it was reported on Saturday that interim GM Tony LaCava is still focused on upgrading the pitching staff.

Trevor Cahill considering the Pirates as a potential destination

Trevor Cahill
AP Photo/Paul Beaty

ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that free agent pitcher Trevor Cahill is looking for a one-year, bounce-back deal. The Pirates are one of the potential teams he is considering.

It’s no surprise that the Pirates are on Cahill’s list. Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage has garnered a reputation as a miracle worker after turning around the careers of a handful of pitchers, including Edinson Volquez, Francisco Liriano, and J.A. Happ. Volquez parlayed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Pirates into a two-year, $20 million deal with the Royals last December. Liriano signed with the Pirates on a one-year, $1 million contract and turned that into a three-year, $39 million deal. Happ, dealt to the Pirates from the Mariners at the most recent trade deadline, just signed a three-year, $39 million contract with the Blue Jays.

Cahill, once a highly-regarded pitching prospect, has scuffled over parts of seven seasons in the majors. The 27-year-old owns a career 4.13 ERA with a 754/427 K/BB ratio in 1,083 2/3 innings. Cahill had some brief success after signing with the Cubs as a free agent in mid-August, compiling a 2.12 ERA in 11 appearances out of the bullpen.

Blue Jays narrow GM search to two candidates: Tony LaCava and Ross Atkins

Tony LaCava
AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the Blue Jays have narrowed their search for a new general manager down to two candidates: current interim GM Tony LaCava, and Indians vice president of player personnel Ross Atkins. Former Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos resigned last month.

LaCava was promoted to interim GM on November 2 and has already made a handful of moves along with new president Mark Shapiro. The club acquired Jesse Chavez in a trade and signed pitchers Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ to multi-year deals.

Atkins worked under Shapiro in the Indians organization for 15 seasons, so it is no surprise that he is a finalist for the open GM position.