Arizona Diamondbacks fans will remember Brandon Webb. He was the ace of the staff, a contender for the Cy Young Award for many years. He was the backbone of the team, one of the best in all of baseball. Then suddenly, it was over. He has not pitched in a major league game since Opening Day 2009, when he lasted only four innings before being removed with shoulder soreness.
As he returns to take part in the Diamondbacks Alumni Game on Saturday, he spoke with Steve Gilbert for mlb.com and discussed his future and the frustration with his shoulder injury.
Webb has not yet formally retired, but he is not actively trying to make it back right now. He certainly tried.
"I was still battling stuff every day," he said. "Throwing flat grounds, throwing some bullpens, some sim games. I finally got into extended [spring training] games, but I was all hopped up on anti-inflams and whatever else to get through the starts. Then the days in between were brutal. I couldn't get anything out of my between-start bullpens if I could even throw."
His velocity, which only ever topped out before his problems between 89-91 MPH, never got past 82. He has shut it down for now and might try again this winter. But that doesn't mean it doesn't eat at him.
"I was on top of my game and went from being one of the best pitchers in the game to immediately being totally done forever," Webb said. "It just stopped. That was the hardest thing. If I would have gradually lost my stuff and I had just not been as good as the years went on, that would have been one thing, but to just suddenly have it over, that was the worst part. I was still young and suddenly that was it. I don't get it. Really, I don't want to shut it down. I still go out and toss a little bit. I feel like I should be able to go out there and do that. I watch MLB Network and Baseball Tonight and I'm like, 'Gosh, I want to be out there doing that."
In a column I wrote a couple of years ago, I went on the record to say that I would be surprised that he would ever pitch in the majors again. Sadly, I turned out to be right.
He will be a part of the alumni game Saturday night after the D-back play the Giants. It may very well be the last time you ever see him in a major league uniform while he is old enough to still actually play professional baseball.
Hopefully he can somehow make it back. I don't think he will. Fortunately for us as fans, we did get to see him at his finest. We wish him the best.
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