Brandon Webb started an extended spring training game yesterday and finally showed signs of rediscovering his pre-surgery velocity levels.
Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com reports that Webb threw four innings and “hit 86 mph a handful of times with his fastball, likely averaging around 84 mph.”
That may not sound very encouraging at first glance, but prior to missing essentially two straight seasons with shoulder problems Webb averaged just 88 miles per hour with his fastball.
His success has never been due to an overpowering fastball and as recently as last week his velocity was said to be in the high-70s and low-80s, so if the readings reported by Durrett are accurate Webb finally appears to have made some significant progress.
Webb will take the mound again for 4-5 innings Tuesday in Arizona, but there’s no timetable yet for his return from the disabled list.
The Mets entered Sunday night’s game against the Pirates with a disappointing 20-27 record. While the club has dealt with a litany of injuries, manager Terry Collins has also drawn criticism for in-game decision-making, particularly regarding his decision-making.
Owner Fred Wilpon is still Collins’ strongest supporter, however, Newsday’s Marc Carig reports. As a result, the team is unlikely to make a managerial change anytime soon. If the Mets continue to struggle, though, ownership may feel pressured to make a change.
Collins became the longest-tenured manager in Mets history last week. Collins managed the Mets to a 77-85 record in 2011 and has overall helped the club go 501-518, winning the NL Pennant in 2015. He is not signed to a contract beyond this season.
Twins first baseman Joe Mauer had a game for the record books on Sunday against the Rays. He finished 4-for-5 with an RBI double, a solo home run, two singles, and three walks in eight plate appearances. Unfortunately for him, the Twins still lost 8-6 in 15 innings.
ESPN’s Stats & Info notes that Mauer is the first Twin to reach base seven times in one game since Rod Carew in 1972 against the Brewers. The last player to reach base seven times in one game (without the aid of an error) was Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford on August 8 last season against the Marlins. The feat has only been accomplished seven times this decade, so about once a year.
After Sunday’s game, Mauer is batting .283/.363/.408 with three home runs, 18 RBI, and 23 runs scored in 171 plate appearances. Not too shabby.