Brandon Webb to throw bullpen session on Sunday

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Brandon Webb threw off a mound when he first arrived to spring training last week, but Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux put him on a throwing program in an effort to build up his arm strength.

After a week of intense long-tossing, Webb is scheduled to get back on the mound Sunday for another bullpen session, according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News.

“I guess I showed them what they needed to see,” Webb said Saturday morning. “I know I can definitely see a huge difference. In a week’s time frame there is a huge jump in my arm strength.”

Webb is at least a week behind the other pitchers in camp, but he told Grant that he doesn’t think being ready for the first week of the season is an unrealistic goal.

“They’ve told me Opening Day is not the finish line,” he said. “I know I don’t want to go back to where things were last year, but as long as I’m feeling good, I don’t see any reason why we can’t push things a little.”

Webb hasn’t pitched in the majors since undergoing shoulder surgery in August of 2009.

The Cubs will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday

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The Cubs soundly defeated the Cardinals on Monday night, 10-2, sending their magic number down to one. They will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday with another win against the Cardinals. Alternatively, if they lose, they can still clinch if the Brewers also lose on Tuesday.

The Cubs, of course, won the Central last year en route to winning their first World Series since 1908. It wasn’t nearly as easy this year as the club was below .500 entering June and was exactly at .500 entering July. A 16-8 July, 17-12 August, and 15-8 September have helped put the Cubs back in position to return to the postseason.

Not to be forgotten, the Cardinals were eliminated from NL Central contention with Monday’s loss. Now they have their sights set on the second NL Wild Card slot and currently trail the Rockies in that race.

The matchups for Tuesday’s action:

Carter Capps to undergo surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome

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Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune reports that Padres pitcher Carter Capps will undergo surgery this offseason to address thoracic outlet syndrome, which doctors believe caused the right-hander’s blood clots. The Padres hope to have him ready by spring training next year.

Capps, 27, underwent Tommy John surgery last year and didn’t debut this season until August 7. He made 11 relief appearances, yielding nine runs on 12 hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings. He went back on the DL on September 12 due to the blood clot issue.

The Padres acquired Capps from the Marlins last July in the Andrew Cashner trade which ended up having a lot of moving parts. Capps will enter his third and final year of arbitration eligibility this offseason. It’s quite possible the Padres choose to non-tender him.