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.  

Aaron Judge was involved in a weird play in the fourth inning

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Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge found himself front-and-center in a weird play in the bottom of the fourth inning during Game 4 of the ALCS on Tuesday evening. Judge drew a walk to lead off the frame. After Didi Gregorius lined out, Gary Sanchez flied out to shallow right-center.

Judge must have thought the ball had a high probability of falling in for a hit, so he was past the second base bag around the time he realized his mistake. He retraced his steps, running back to first base. Reddick’s throw hopped a couple of times but first base umpire Jerry Meals called Judge out on the tag-up play.

Manager Joe Girardi requested a review and the call was overturned: Judge was safe. However, Astros manager A.J. Hinch wanted to challenge that Judge did not re-touch second base on his way back. Rather than issuing a formal challenge, the Astros had to appeal the play by having starter Lance McCullers throw to second base, at which point second base umpire Jim Reynolds would issue a ruling. McCullers was a bit hasty, though, and made his appeal throw before Greg Bird stepped into the batter’s box. Reynolds told McCullers that he had to wait. So, McCullers again made his appeal throw.

This time, Judge was running and he was simply tagged out at second base for the final out of the inning. No need for a review.

As Ken Rosenthal explained on the FS1 broadcast, the Yankees were trying to “beat the police.” They knew Judge would have been ruled out — replays clearly showed he never re-touched the base — so they had nothing to lose by sending Judge. If he was safe, the Astros would no longer be able to appeal the play. If he’s out, then it’s the same outcome they would have had anyway.