Webb likes Pirates, but can they hook up?

Former Cy Young winner eyes comeback from 2009 shoulder surgery

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Brandon Webb, a one-time Cy Young Award winner in Arizona, would welcome a chance to come back from shoulder surgery in Pittsburgh, his agent said Tuesday.

The Pirates are one of roughly a half-dozen suitors through free agency.

"The Pirates are an organization that Brandon and I have a lot of respect for, especially for the GM," agent Jonathan Maurer said, referring to general manager Neal Huntington. "But they're also one of a number of teams that are interested."

Webb, 31, was the Cy Young winner in 2006 and a National League All-Star in 2006-08, posting ERAs of 3.10, 3.01 and 3.30 in that span. But his right shoulder was injured on opening day in 2009, and he had surgery Aug. 3 of that year.

He has not pitched competitively since then, though he had a workout two months ago in front of 18 teams -- including the Pirates -- where he achieved 85 mph on the radar gun with what Maurer called "about 75-80 percent of his usual strength." Webb, a sinker specialist, previously peaked at around 90 mph.

Maurer emphasized that Webb's shoulder, which has been examined by several teams, is healthy enough that he will be ready to pitch at full strength for the start of spring training.

The Texas Rangers, Chicago Cubs, Washington Nationals and Minnesota Twins are among the other suitors.

Another prominent free-agent pitcher coming back from long-term injury is Chris Young, a former standout with the San Diego Padres who originally was drafted by the Pirates.

Huntington was asked Tuesday if he would be open to trying a comeback-type pitcher in his rotation, and he replied, "We are open to a creative addition to the group in competition for our rotation."

NOTES -- The Pirates must decide by midnight Thursday whether to offer tenders to their remaining arbitration-eligible players: Ross Ohlendorf, Joel Hanrahan, Lastings Milledge, Jeff Karstens and Ronny Cedeno. ... Some already have been approached with offers to settle before the deadline. Karstens, maybe the only one on the bubble, is believed to be one.

Dejan Kovacevic: dkovacevic@post-gazette.com . Find more at PBC Blog .


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