Brandon Webb disappointed with latest simulated game

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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.  

Video: Gift Ngoepe singles in his first major league at-bat

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Pirates infielder Gift Ngoepe, just called up from Triple-A Indianapolis, singled in his first major league at-bat on Wednesday evening against Cubs starter Jon Lester. It was a well-struck ground ball up the middle in the bottom of the fourth inning. Unfortunately for him, the Pirates could not bring him around to score.

Ngoepe, who was pinch-hitting, stayed in the game to play second base.

Shelby Miller getting third opinion on elbow from Dr. James Andrews

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Diamondbacks starter Shelby Miller was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Monday due to inflammation in his right elbow. He had a second opinion from Dr. Neal ElAttrache on Tuesday and is currently awaiting a third opinion from Dr. James Andrews, Craig Grialou of Arizona Sports reports. That he’s getting a third opinion seems to imply that Miller’s elbow issue is rather serious.

Miller, 26, hasn’t been able to catch a break since joining the Diamondbacks. Last year’s nightmarish season included a finger injury stemming from mechanical woes and a brief demotion to the minor leagues. In 20 starts in the majors last year, Miller posted an ugly 6.15 ERA. This year, his ERA is a mediocre 4.09 over four starts.

The Diamondbacks called up Zack Godley to take Miller’s spot in the rotation. There was some speculation that it would be Archie Bradley instead, but he’s been working out of the bullpen.