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.

Masahiro Tanaka to throw off a mound this weekend

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Earlier this month Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka strained both of his hamstrings while running the bases in an interleague game against the Mets and was sent to the 10-day DL. Today it was announced that the beginning of the end of most DL stints for pitchers — throwing off of a mound — is in Tanaka’s immediate future.

Tanaka is scheduled to throw off a mound Sunday, which will be his first real (well, fake real) pitching action since the June 9th injury. Assuming the session goes well, Tanaka is expected to return to the Yankees’ starting rotation sometime in early-to-mid July. With the All-Star break coming the week of July 16, it would not be hard to imagine the Yankees giving him a few extra days to get right.

Tanaka is 7-2 with a 4.58 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 73/19 in 72.2 innings on the season.