Report: Rangers reach agreement with Webb

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From Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse comes word that the Rangers have reached agreement on a contract with free agent right-hander Brandon Webb.  The deal is only pending a physical.

The Reds, Yankees, Rangers, Cubs and Nationals all showed interest in the 31-year-old this winter, but he chose Texas in the end and should open the 2011 season as the club’s fourth or fifth starter.

Webb comes with plenty of risk.  He hasn’t thrown a pitch in a major league game since the opening week of the 2009 season because of chronic shoulder issues and he did not display good velocity during a couple of late-season throwing sessions earlier this year.  But the Rangers needed a body to fill the massive gap left by Cliff Lee’s departure and Webb was once regarded as a top tier National League starter.

In 2008, he finished with a 3.30 ERA and 1.20 WHIP over 34 starts, fanning 183 batters over 226.2 frames.  In 2007, he posted a 3.01 ERA and 1.19 WHIP over 236.1 innings.  In 2006, he won the National League Cy Young Award with a 3.10 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and a 178/50 K/BB ratio across 33 starts.

If Webb can get anywhere near that kind of production down in Arlington, the loss of Lee might not sting so badly.  Of course, it’s far from a guarantee that he will have enough stamina to last the entire season.

UPDATE: ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark says the deal is for one year.  As expected.

Video: Troy Tulowitzki plays along with a photographer who thought he was a pitcher

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Thursday marked photo day for the Blue Jays. There are always some oddities, usually when the players create fun for themselves. This time, the fun happened when a photographer mistook shortstop Troy Tulowitzki for a pitcher. Tulowitzki rolled with it and followed the photographer’s instructions to pose like a pitcher.

Hazel Mae has the hilarious video:

Hitters, of course, typically pose with a bat over their shoulder. Pitchers typically have their hand in their glove, sometimes leaning forward as if receiving the signs from their catcher.

Tulowitzki has exclusively played shortstop during his 12-year career in the majors, but perhaps one day he’ll step on the mound and be able to call himself a pitcher.