Webb hits 84 MPH in second instructional league appearance

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Brandon Webb might be making progress.

According to Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse, the impending free agent hit 84 MPH with his fastball in a second instructional league appearance Saturday.  He hit just 81 MPH in his first appearance earlier this week and showed an ineffective curveball.

Webb hasn’t thrown a pitch in a major league game since the first week of the 2009 season but is hoping to find a one-year deal this winter that will help him revitalize his career.

The Nationals are keeping an eye on him, as are a few other teams.  But he threw his sinking fastball on 71% of his deliveries back in 2008 and needs at least some velocity for it to be an effective pitch.

The Cards dealt Stephen Piscotty to the A’s, in part, so he could be near his ailing mother

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Last night we wrote about the rumored deal between the Cardinals and the Athletics for Stephen Piscotty. The deal is now official, with Piscotty going to Oakland for minor leaguers Yairo Munoz and Max Schrock.

Something else emerged about the deal today: a big reason why St. Louis traded Piscotty to Oakland as opposed to another team was so that he could be near his mother, who was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease last May. Piscotty and his family are from Pleasanton, California, about 35 miles from Oakland.

Here’s Cardinals GM John Mozeliak:

This was certainly a baseball trade — Piscotty became expendable for the Cardinals after they acquired Marcell Ozuna yesterday — but it was one which could’ve been made with any team with a couple of red or white chip prospects. That Mozeliak considered Piscotty’s personal situation in making the deal with the A’s is a credit to him and his staff.

The 26-year-old Piscotty hit .235 with nine homers and 39 RBIs in 107 games last season. He has hit .268 with 38 homers and 163 RBIs in 2+ major league seasons. He agreed to a six-year, $33.5 million contract extension last spring.

As for the prospects in return: Munoz, 22, hit .300 with 13 homers and 68 RBIs this year for Double-A Midland and Triple-A Nashville. Schrock, 23, batted .321 with seven homers and 46 RBIs for Midland, and was a Texas League All-Star.