Brandon Webb’s recovery from shoulder surgery has progressed so slowly that he’s gone from hoping to be healthy for the second half to hoping to make at least one start in September to now talking about possibly having to participate in instructional leagues just to get some work in.
Here’s what Webb told Steve Gilbert of MLB.com about the possibility:
I’ve thought about that. I haven’t talked to anyone about it yet. It could make sense. It’s a controlled environment and it’s a way to get some innings.
Innings are innings, but one issue is that Webb will be a free agent in a few weeks and at that point he’s no longer property of the Diamondbacks, so pitching for their instructional league team (or another affiliated team) seemingly wouldn’t be an option.
Webb is still holding out some hope of making a relief appearance or two yet this season, but Diamondbacks pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. noted that “he’s still a ways away, he’s moving forward but he’s got a ways to go.”
He hasn’t pitched since Opening Day of last season and the former Cy Young winner is now 13 months removed from surgery.
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported on Sunday that the Brewers claimed catcher Stephen Vogt off waivers from the Athletics. Vogt was designated for assignment by the Athletics on Thursday.
Vogt, 32, was an All-Star in each of the last two seasons, but struggled this year. He hit .217/.287/.357 with four home runs and 20 RBI in 174 plate appearances.
With the Brewers, Vogt will likely split time behind the plate with Manny Pina. Meanwhlie, the Athletics’ catching situation will be handled by Josh Phegley and Bruce Maxwell.
Astros’ left-hander Dallas Keuchel might not return to the rotation before the All-Star break, Houston manager A.J. Hinch told reporters prior to Sunday’s game. The club placed their star southpaw on the 10-day disabled list on June 8, retroactive to June 5, after a nerve issue was revealed in his neck.
Keuchel has taken a conservative approach to his recovery over the last several weeks, and while he appears to have made some progress, still has yet to throw off the mound. The injury interrupted the start of an outstanding run with the Astros, during which the 29-year-old lefty furnished a 9-0 record with a 1.67 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 through his first 75 2/3 innings of 2017.
According to Hinch, it’s certainly possible that Keuchel could return to the team sometime within the next two weeks, but it’s clear that the team would prefer to play it extra safe with their ace. Even assuming that he feels ready to reclaim his spot on the Astros’ pitching staff, he still needs to complete a few key activities before competing in another game — like throwing off a mound, for example. In the meantime, Lance McCullers Jr. will continue to head Houston’s rotation as they try to build on their 12.5-game lead in the AL West.
Hinch’s full comments are below: