A simultaneously large and small roster move was made this past week in the NL West. Pitcher Brandon Webb was moved to the 60-day disabled list. The move is unsurprising if not telegraphed, so this somewhat under-the radar news is simultaneously big news and no news. Contrary to the name of the move itself, it does not leave Brandon Webb off the 25-man roster for two months from now. Retroactive to his initial placement on the 15-day DL, Webb is eligible to return May 25, missing nearly one third of the season at best.
Of course, Webb won't be on the mound at Coors Field on May 25. As it stands, the most he has done is play catch in the past week, with his last dirtpile ascent ocurring in early March. Webb is currently playing catch on flat ground for 5-10 minutes on a 2-day-on, 1-day-off schedule. Following that, he will have to pitch off a mound, build arm strength, find each of his pitches, and throw a rehab stint in the minor leagues. All without a single setback that he has become accustomed to. So the timetable for this comeback?
"I think it starts with him feeling better, but also we can start to establish some kind of timeline when he's on a mound," General Manager Josh Byrnes said. "Until then, it's hard to guess." - Nick Piecoro, AZCentral
There is none. One of the main reasons Arizona was thought to compete with the Rockies was the potential return of Webb, but he is looking to be out at least another six to eight weeks. Already in last place, Arizona is treated by the schedule makers to home series against St. Louis and Philadelphia and road series against the Rockies and Cubs.
Meanwhile, at the back end of the Diamondbacks' rotation, Ian Kennedy is sporting an 8.68 ERA and Kris Benson, who had just two MLB starts from 2006-09 and is most famous for his bad contract and wife, is now a regular in the starting rotation. Benson threw 6 innings and allowed two runs in his first start this past weekend, though it ought to be noted that it came at PetCo Park.
Okay, so here's my point. In our competition between Brandon Webb and Jeff Francis, we're at a 0-0 stalemate. But the Rockies' sixth starter is Greg Smith, who is 1-1 with a 4.67 ERA and a team best K/BB. That ERA isn't great, but it is less than Jeff Francis' career mark. I'd rather have Smith every fifth day than journeyman Kris Benson or unproven Billy Buckner or Kevin Mulvey. Especially if Ian Kennedy doesn't step him game up, the Diamondbacks' lack of depth will completely hamstring them.
NL West Report
Arizona (5-7, 5th, L4, 3 GB)
Last Week: 1-5. 1-2 @ Dodgers. 0-3 @ Padres. The NL West road trip was not kind to Arizona, who owns the longest losing streak in the division thus far. The pitching staff allowed at least five runs in all six games, but the offense managed to exceed five only once - their one win on the week.
This Week: 3 game home series vs. Cardinals. 3 game home series vs. Phillies. Arizona gets a chance to go home and recuperate at Chase Field, where they are 4-2. Okay, not really. They have to face the Cardinals, who have allowed 9 fewer runs than any MLB team, and the Phillies, who have scored eight more runs than any MLB team.
You Should Know: Of Arizona's eight relievers, only Blaine Boyer (3.60) and Leo Rosales (2.70) have ERAs below 7.00. The bullpen as a unit has a 6.93 ERA. As a comparison, no Rockie reliever has an ERA over 4.50.
News: Outfielder Jackson injures hamstring | dbacks.com: News - Conor Jackson is day-to-day with a hamstring injury.
Tim Dierkes at MLBTradeRumors points out the contract issues facing Arizona this offseason.
Ken Rosenthal suggests that the Diamondbacks' interest in Jarrod Washburn has cooled. Josh Byrnes is content to ride the Lopez/Benson/Buckner/Mulvey wave in hopes that they can make a trade midseason.
Miguel Montero underwent successful surgery to repair a torn meniscus. He is likely to return in 4-6 weeks.
Dierkes also has a conversation with GM Josh Byrnes about his first trade as Arizona's GM. Byrnes acquired catcher Johnny Estrada for pitchers Lance Cormier and Oscar Villareal. None of the three proved especially valuable, but Byrnes did flip Montero for Doug davis at a later date
Transactions: Called up RHP Kris Benson. Optioned RHP Esmerling Vasquez to AAA Reno.
Injuries: As discussed above, Brandon Webb was moved to the 60-day DL yesterday. Adam LaRoche is day-to-day with a tight right quad after missing a few days. He should return today or tomorrow. Miguel Montero's surgery went well to repair his torn meniscus. Montero should be out 4-6 more weeks at least.
Arizona Diamondbacks Injuries
Los Angeles (6-6, t-2nd, W1, 2 GB)
Last Week: 4-2. 2-1 vs. Diamondbacks. 2-1 vs. Giants. Dodger Stadium was enough to ease Los Angeles' first week troubles.
This Week: 3 game road series @ Reds. 3 game road series @ Nationals. Fresh off a strong home week, the Dodgers will get sent out for a nine game east coast road trip against teams that average two games below .500.
News: It's hard to believe, but Vin Scully has been behind the mic for 60 years for the Dodgers.
All-time good guy Brad Ausmus will be out three months after having surgery to repair a herniated disc in his mask. Ausmus had not been on the disabled list before in his 17-year career.
Ned Colletti will hold serve, keeping A.J. Ellis as Russell Martin's back-up rather than acquiring a catcher elsewhere. Of course, that's not surprising, given Russell Martin's back-up tends to start as much as Omar Quintanilla.
Transactions: RHP Russ Ortiz was designated for assignment yesterday, replaced by RHP Jon Link. Ortiz had a 10.29 ERA and led all Dodger relievers in innings pitched and batters faced.
Injuries: Manny Ramirez is day-to-day with tightness in his left calf after missing two games over the weekend. Hong-Chih Kuo was effective in a minor league outing yesterday. Ronald Belisario also pitched in the minors yesterday and is scheduled to pitch tonight. He is scheduled to be activated Wednesday, a huge "relief" for a bullpen ranked last in the National League in ERA going into yesterday.
Los Angeles Dodgers Injuries
San Diego (6-6, t-2nd, W3, 2 GB)
Last Week: 4-2. 1-2 vs. Braves. 3-0 vs. Diamondbacks. San Diego outscored their opponents by 18 runs last week on the strength of of their fifteen run drubbing of Atlanta Monday. A sweep of Arizona completed their 4-2 week at home, though next week offers more challenges
This Week: 3 game home series vs. Giants. 3 game road series @ Reds. The Giants aren't likely to be happy after their first series loss of the season, and traveling to the east is never easy.
News: Jayson Stark doesn't believe that Heath Bell will be traded this season. His $4million salary is not a back-breaker, and he's under control through 2011. He might still be traded next season.
San Diego Padres Injuries
San Francisco (8-4, 1st, L1)
Last Week: 3-3. 2-1 vs. Pirates. 1-2 @ Dodgers. The Giants won a home series against the Pirates as they should have, then lost a road series over the weekend to the Dodgers.
This Week: 3 game road series @ Padres. 3 game home series vs. Cardinals. The schedule takes its first difficult turn for San Francisco. They'll have to travel to PetCo Park, where the Padres just finished off a sweep of the Diamondbacks, and host the mighty Cardinals, who are 4-2 on the road. This is the first week of the season that Tim Lincecum won't pitch twice.
News: Fred Lewis has been asking for a trade from the Giants for over a year. He finally got his wish. McCovey Chronicles has a requiem for their departed comrade, including dismaying evidence that Lewis is actually a unicorn.
Injuries: Placed CF Aaron Rowand on the 15-day disabled list with a concussion after being hit in the head with a pitch. He broke bones in his face, but won't need surgery to repair. Mark DeRosa is day-to-day with a mild hamstring strain.