Brandon Webb still rehabbing, willing to pitch out of bullpen


Brandon Webb is now more than two full years removed from his last big-league start, but the former Cy Young winner is still trying to get healthy following shoulder surgery and said yesterday that he’d be willing to pitch out of Texas’ bullpen once he does come off the disabled list.

Webb, who threw a 70-pitch bullpen session yesterday, said that he’d still rather start but “would do it … if it’s a chance to pitch.”

T.R. Sullivan of reports that Webb “is still 4-6 weeks away from completing his comeback,” so while the Rangers’ rotation looks full and is performing very well right now plenty of things could change between now and late May. On the other hand, Texas will also get starters Tommy Hunter and Scott Feldman back from the DL at some point, perhaps before Webb.

Webb’s only career relief appearance came in his MLB debut and since then he’s made 198 starts, the last of which came on Opening Day of 2009. There’s no sense in worrying about Webb’s role at this point, because he’s no longer a particularly strong bet to contribute significantly this season and if he does come back in 4-6 weeks looking good and healthy the Rangers will figure out a way to use of their $3 million investment.

Blue Jays name J.A. Happ their Opening Day starter

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The Toronto Blue Jays have named J.A. Happ their Opening Day starter. He’ll face off against Luis Severino and the New York Yankees on March 29 in Toronto.

Based on last season’s stats you’d assume Marcus Stroman would get the Opening Day assignment, but he has been slowed by a right shoulder inflammation this spring. He’ll get three extra days rest to start the season and start the finale of the four-game series against the Yankees. After Happ will come Aaron Sanchez and Marco Estrada. Jaime Garcia will be the fifth starter.

Happ, 35, is entering the final year of a three-year, $36 million deal.  He went 10-11 with a 3.53 ERA in 25 starts last season.