Brandon Webb hasn’t appeared in a major league game since Opening Day of the 2009 season due to lingering shoulder woes. He latched on with the Rangers last offseason, but struggled over four minor league rehab starts before requiring another surgery in August. However, he’s still working hard to get his career back on track.
Buster Olney of ESPN.com was told by Webb’s agent, Jonathan Maurer, that the 32-year-old right-hander is currently throwing “free and easy and pain free” off flat ground and hopes to throw in front of scouts at some point.
Webb’s velocity was nowhere to be found during his rehab starts last year and and he endured plenty of setbacks following his previous surgery, so his current comeback attempt faces pretty long odds. Just in case it wasn’t obvious enough already, shoulder injuries sure are a drag.
Major League Baseball has announced the umpiring crew for the World Series. John Hirschbeck is the crew chief. It’s his fifth World Series assignment, third as a crew chief.
A surprising name on the crew is Joe West. It’ll be his sixth World Series overall, but first since 2012. There had been chatter for several years that Major League Baseball was making a more concerted effort to get its best umpires into the World Series more often while minimizing the appearances of its weakest umpires. Most assumed West’s absence from the Fall Classic in recent years, despite his seniority, was a function of that. Maybe they’re still making merit a priority and maybe West has just improved? I’ll leave that for you to judge.
Anyway, here is the lineup of umps for Game 1. They will rotate after that, of course. If the series goes six games, Cowboy Joe will be calling the balls and strikes:
Home plate: Larry Vanover
1B: Chris Guccione
2B: John Hirschbeck
3B: Marvin Hudson
LF: Tony Randazzo
RF: Joe West
Replay Official for Games 1-2: Sam Holbrook (with assistance from Todd Tichenor)
Replay Official for Games 3-7: Larry Vanover (with assistance from Todd Tichenor)