Brandon Webb threw his second simulated game Friday, but according to what he told Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic, it didn’t go quite as smoothly as his first session against live hitters last Saturday.
“It wasn’t as good as it was the last time,” Webb said. “I was as wild
as I’ve ever been. I had no clue where it was going. I was a little
disappointed because I felt like it went pretty good last time.”
After throwing 52 pitches last Saturday, Friday’s session was cut short after just 35 pitches. Webb said the poor command was a result of a change of mechanics in an attempt to help improve his arm speed. The former 2006 NL Cy Young award winner is only reaching the low-80s on the radar gun at the moment. He’s hoping he can get by in the mid-80s as a reliever down the stretch.
Webb, 31, will be a free agent after the season. This week, his agent Jonathan Maurer said his client was looking for a deal similar to what Brad Penny, Rich Harden, Ben Sheets and Tim Hudson received over the winter. Good luck with that one. Unless he makes rapid progress, he’s probably looking at an incentive-laden deal similar to the one Erik Bedard signed with the Mariners.
Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.
The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.
Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.
Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.