Brandon Webb tops out at 86 mph in extended spring start

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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.

Astros claim Buddy Boshers off waivers from the Twins

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The Astros announced on Monday that the club claimed reliever Buddy Boshers off waivers from the Twins.

Boshers, 29, had been designated for assignment by the Twins last week. Across parts of three seasons, the lefty compiled a 4.59 ERA with a 78/25 K/BB ratio in 86 1/3 innings in the big leagues.

Boshers has handled left-handed hitters much better than right-handed hitters, holding them to a career .621 and .793 OPS, respectively. If he makes the 25-man roster out of spring training, the Astros may use him as a LOOGY — a left-handed one-out guy. As of right now, Tony Sipp is the only lefty in the ‘pen.