Brandon Webb throws, thinks he'll be ready for season

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Good news for Arizona Diamondbacks fans: Brandon Webb threw off a mound on Tuesday for the first time since his shoulder surgery in August, and as he tells MLB.com, “[It] went good.”

Webb, a three-time All-Star and winner of the 2006 NL Cy Young Award, made just one start in 2009 due to shoulder pain, then finally had surgery on Aug. 3.

“It was good to get him into the next phase of his rehabilitation,” D-backs manager A.J. Hinch said. “He looked comfortable. This is a positive sign as we’re getting close to Spring Training. I thought he looked good.”

The D-backs will treat Webb carefully in spring training, but the right-hander said he didn’t see any reason why he wouldn’t be ready for the start of the season.

If up to full strength (a huge if), Webb would combine with Dan Haren and Edwin Jackson to give Arizona a fine trio of starters. Though with Ian Kennedy and Billy Buckner likely filling out the rotation, a little added depth wouldn’t hurt.

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Noah Syndergaard scratched with a “tired arm”

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Mets manager Terry Collins says that he has scratched Noah Syndergaard, who was supposed to start this afternoon’s game against the Braves. In his place will go Matt Harvey.

Syndergaard, Collins says, has “tired arm.” But also says he has some discomfort in his right biceps. He will have an MRI, but Syndergaard says it’s not serious and that he could pitch as soon as Sunday. Collins says this is an abundance-of-caution type thing, saying “we can’t take a chance on this guy.” Which is true.

The Mets ace is 1-1 with a 1.73 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 26 innings. He has walked

James Paxton has a fantastic new nickname

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James Paxton of the Mariners is 3-0 with a 1.39 ERA, 39 strikeouts and only six walks in 32.1 innings of work over five starts. Last night he shut the Tigers down, tossing seven shutout innings, striking out nine and allowing only four hits. With Felix Hernandez looking less than king-like lately, Paxton is asserting himself as the new ace of the Seattle staff.

And now the tall Canadian native has a nickname to match his ace-like status:

“Pax was really outstanding and we certainly needed it,” manager Scott Servais said of the Canadian southpaw. “Big Maple is what he was nicknamed tonight and I kind of like that. He was awesome.”

“Big Maple” is a fantastic nickname. That’s the sort of nickname guys used to get back when nicknames were great. Before managers just put “y” at the end of dudes’ names and before the “First Initial-First Three Letters of The Last Name” convention took hold in the wake of A-Rod.

“Big Maple.” That makes me smile. I’m gonna be smiling all dang day because of that.