Cubs and Nationals no longer pursuing Brandon Webb

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The market for free agent right-hander Brandon Webb is finally starting to take shape.  Teams are moving in and teams are moving out as negotiations begin to turn serious.

We told you earlier today that the Yankees are “monitoring” the 31-year-old starter.  According to Jayson Stark of, the Cubs and Nationals are not.  At least, not anymore.

Stark’s source says that Webb is down to two teams: the Rangers and a “mystery” club from the National League Central — either the Pirates, Cardinals, Astros, Brewers or Reds.

Webb is expected to decide on a landing spot either next week or during the first week of January.  He hasn’t pitched in a major league game since the opening of the 2009 season, but he won a Cy Young Award just four years ago and posted a 3.30 ERA and 1.20 WHIP over 34 starts in 2008.  On a contract with a low-base salary and a few million dollars in performance-based incentives, he’d make a fine risk for any starter-needy club.

Danny Duffy exits spring training game with left shoulder tightness

Danny Duffy
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Royals’ Opening Day starter Danny Duffy weathered a minor scare during Saturday’s Cactus League game against the Diamondbacks. The left-hander was removed from his final spring training start after experiencing some left shoulder tightness in the second and third innings. No lasting damage appears to have been done — Duffy told reporters that he simply felt a slight ache, nothing more — and it looks like he’ll remain on track to open the season with the team next Thursday.

The 29-year-old southpaw is coming off one of his best performances to date. Despite losing a few weeks to an oblique strain and elbow soreness, he went 9-10 in 24 starts and finished the 2017 season with a 3.81 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 over 146 1/3 innings. While Duffy entered camp with a clean bill of health, he struggled to execute against his spring training opponents and racked up 13 runs, four homers, seven walks and 11 strikeouts in 13 innings of Cactus League play.

The Royals are scheduled to kick off their home opener against the White Sox on Thursday, March 29 at 4:15 PM ET. Barring any further complications with his shoulder, Duffy will take the mound for the Royals, while James Shields is expected to make his first Opening Day appearance for the White Sox.