Brandon Webb hasn’t pitched in a big-league game since Opening Day of 2009, yet the former Cy Young winner still isn’t certain he’ll be recovered enough from shoulder surgery to begin the season in the Rangers’ rotation.
Asked if he’ll be ready for Opening Day, Webb told Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com:
I set timetables last year and it was a little bit unrealistic. I sure hope I’m going to be ready full go. To be there Opening Day, that’s my goal for sure. That’s very reachable, but I have to see how things go.
And here’s what general manager Jon Daniels had to say about Webb’s timetable:
We have same goal of Brandon pitching meaningful innings. We’d love for him to be ready by Opening Day, but we’re going to keep our eye on the big picture and on what’s best for him.
Webb’s uncertain status is why his one-year deal with the Rangers is worth “only” $3 million in guaranteed money after he earned $15 million in the past two seasons. He can make an additional $5 million in incentives.
We learned on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu won one of the final two spots in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Brandon McCarthy has won the other, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports. Alex Wood was McCarthy’s competitor for the spot.
McCarthy, 33, posted a 4.85 ERA across four appearances spanning 13 innings this spring, yielding seven earned runs on 14 hits and a walk with seven strikeouts. Wood, a southpaw, gave up five earned runs in six innings against the Reds on Tuesday, which might have factored into the decision.
Last season, McCarthy made nine starts and one relief appearance, posting a 4.95 ERA with a 44/26 K/BB ratio in 40 innings. In the event McCarthy falters, the club has Wood as well as Julio Urias and the injured Scott Kazmir as potential replacements.
The Yankees have re-signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. Niese was released on Sunday, but he’ll stick around and provide rotation depth for the Yankees.
Niese had knee surgery last August and got a late start to spring training as a result. In six spring appearances lasting an inning each, the lefty gave up three earned runs on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts.
Niese, a veteran of nine seasons, put up an aggregate 5.50 ERA with an 88/47 K/BB ratio in 121 innings last season between the Pirates and Mets.