Brandon Webb’s “goal” is to be ready by Opening Day

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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.

Padres, Mariners join list of teams to extend netting

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The Reds announced earlier that they plan to extend the protective netting at Great American Ball Park in time for Opening Day next season. You can add the Padres and Mariners to what will surely be a growing list.

A young fan was struck in the face by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, which gave new life to the netting debate. Some fans and media types think Major League Baseball is not doing enough to protect fans. While Major League Baseball has issued guidelines for protective netting, it is ultimately up to the teams to decide just how much netting to use.

Zach Britton receives stem cell injection, likely done for the season

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Orioles closer Zach Britton is likely done for the remainder of the 2017 season after receiving a stem cell injection in his left knee, Peter Schmuck and Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun report. Britton has been battling knee problems for most of the season.

The Orioles are still technically in the AL Wild Card race, entering play Thursday 5.5 games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card slot. With only nine games remaining, however, the 73-80 Orioles are likely being realistic about their chances and not taking any unnecessary risks with Britton.

Britton, 29, put up a 2.89 ERA with 15 saves and a 29/18 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings this season. He will be eligible for arbitration for the fourth and final time this offseason.