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.

Texas Rangers ink free-agent ace Jacob deGrom to 5-year deal

Jacob deGrom
USA Today
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ARLINGTON, Texas — Free-agent ace Jacob deGrom and the Texas Rangers agreed to a $185 million, five-year contract Friday.

The two-time Cy Young Award winner leaves the New York Mets after nine seasons – the past two shortened by injuries.

After making his first start last season in early August, deGrom went 5-4 with a 3.08 ERA in 11 outings. He helped the Mets reach the playoffs, then opted out of his contract to become a free agent.

Texas announced the signing Friday night after the 34-year-old deGrom passed his physical. A person with direct knowledge of the deal disclosed the financial terms to The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the club did not announce those details.

“We are thrilled that Jacob deGrom has decided to become a Texas Ranger,” executive vice president and general manager Chris Young said in a statement. “Over a number of seasons, Jacob has been a standout major league pitcher, and he gives us a dominant performer at the top of our rotation. One of our primary goals this offseason is to strengthen our starting pitching, and we are adding one of the best.”

Texas went 68-94 last season and then hired Bruce Bochy as its new manager. The Rangers’ six straight losing seasons are their worst skid since the franchise moved from Washington in 1972.

The Rangers were big spenders in free agency last offseason, signing Corey Seager ($325 million, 10 years) and second baseman Marcus Semien ($175 million, seven years).