Brandon Webb, feeling good, keeping an eye on free agency

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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick caught up with Brandon Webb, who’s down in Arizona preparing for a comeback season with the Diamondbacks. He says he feels fine and is ready to pitch, but of course guys always say that.  We’ll see once he starts to face live hitters in spring training.

More interesting were the Kentucky native’s comments about free agency, which he’ll hit after this season:

“Obviously you want to see what’s out there and do the best deal you
can for yourself and your family. That’s probably No. 1.  We’ve
had a great time in Arizona, and if everything works out and we stay
here, that would be good. But to get back close to home [in Kentucky]
would be just as good. I’m definitely keeping it open. I’m not going to
hold myself down to just Arizona.”

The joke around these parts is that Cincinnati is the capital of Kentucky.  And there’s a lot of truth to that.  No, I don’t see the Reds having any desire whatsoever to pay what a healthy and effective Brandon Webb would command in free agency.  But then again, I’ve never met a guy from Kentucky who didn’t think hard about taking a job in Cincinnati to be near mom and dad once or twice a year either.

President Obama pardons Willie McCovey

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 06:  San Francisco Giants legend Willie McCovey  waves to the crowd while seating between Jeff Kent (L) and Willie Mays during a ceremony honoring Buster Posey for winning the 2012 National League MVP before the Giants game against the St. Louis Cardinals at AT&T Park on April 6, 2013 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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The big presidential pardon news today concerns the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence. We’ll leave that aside. For our purposes, know that someone in the world of baseball was pardoned: Willie McCovey.

Yes, Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, who in 1995 pleaded guilty to income tax fraud related to the non-reporting of income received from memorabilia and autograph shows. Duke Snider pleaded guilty alongside McCovey. They were given two years probation and fines of $5,000. Snider died in 2011. McCovey still works with the San Francisco Giants as a senior advisor and goodwill ambassador.

President Obama’s release of McCovey’s pardon was pretty succinct. But it’s enough to scrub the record of one of the greatest sluggers of all time.

 

Jake Diekman will miss at least half of the 2017 season

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 9: Jake Diekman #41 of the Texas Rangers works against the Toronto Blue Jays in the sixth inning during game three of the American League Division Series at Rogers Centre on October 9, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
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Rangers reliever Jake Diekman will have surgery on January 25 to help alleviate ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease. As a result, the lefty will miss at least half of the 2017 regular season, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. Diekman was diagnosed with the illness when he was 11 years old. He has brought awareness to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America with a “Gut It Out” campaign.

Diekman, who turns 30 years old on Saturday, finished the 2016 campaign with a 3.40 ERA and a 59/26 K/BB ratio in 53 innings. He came to the Rangers from the Phillies in the Cole Hamels trade on July 31, 2015.

The Rangers and Diekman avoided arbitration last Friday, agreeing to a $2.55 million salary for the 2017 season.