Brandon Webb throws scoreless inning in instructional league

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Brandon Webb wasn’t able to make it back from shoulder surgery to pitch for the Diamondbacks this season, but he did take the mound in an instructional league game this afternoon.
The good news is that he threw a scoreless inning, getting a pair of ground outs and a fly out while allowing one hit.
The bad news is that according to Nick Piecero of the Arizona Republic his fastball was clocked at just 81 miles per hour.
Prior to missing nearly all of the past two seasons with shoulder injuries Webb averaged around 88.5 miles per hour with his fastball, so he was never a particularly hard-thrower, but obviously he’ll need to rediscover some of that lost velocity to re-emerge as anything close to his pre-surgery self.
He has plenty of time, because this afternoon’s outing is just the first significant step on a load road back, but after making $15 million to throw a grand total of four innings in the past two seasons the impending free agent’s next deal will be very light on guaranteed money and very heavy on incentives.

Joey Votto: “I tried to get fatter. I succeeded at that apparently.”

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We’ve poked fun often at the spring training trope of players showing up to camp in the “best shape of [their] life.” Reds first baseman Joey Votto has turned that entirely on its head. Talking about his offseason, the 2010 NL MVP said, “I tried to get fatter. I succeeded at that apparently. We did all the testing and I am fatter,” Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Votto, of course, wasn’t trying to say he’s not in shape; he was just using some of his trademark self-deprecating humor.

Votto did get serious when discussing the state of the rebuilding Reds. As Buchanan also reported, Votto said, “I think we’re starting to get to the point where people are starting to get tired of this stretch of ball. I think something needs to start changing and start going in a different direction. I’m going to do my part to help make that change.”

Votto, 34, is under contract with the Reds through at least 2023, so he still has plenty of incentive to help see the rebuild through. He has been nothing short of stellar over the last three seasons. This past season, he hit .320/.454/.578 with 36 home runs, 100 RBI, and 106 runs scored in 707 appearances across all 162 games. Votto led the majors in walks (134) and on-base percentage and led the National League in OPS (1.032).

Despite Votto’s presence, both FanGraphs and PECOTA are projecting the Reds to put up a 74-88 record. The club had a pretty quiet offseason, expecting to enter 2018 with largely the same roster as last year.