06/25/09 8:30 PM ET
Webb hitting road to get more opinions
Injured D-backs ace making three-state trek to see specialists
By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com
Webb will visit with three specialists as he continues to seek opinions regarding his ailing shoulder. He will see Keith Meister in Arlington, David Altchek in New York and James Andrews in Birmingham.The right-hander has not been able to pitch since Opening Day due to discomfort in his shoulder. While initially the hope was that the injury was related to a muscle outside of the shoulder joint, fears of something more serious, such as a rotator cuff or labrum issue, surfaced late last week when Webb had a bullpen session canceled. Webb has already seen D-backs team physician Michael Lee and had an MRI exam, which reportedly revealed season-ending surgery as a possible next step. "As with any decision, getting multiple opinions is important," D-backs GM Josh Byrnes said. Byrnes, who had a long meeting with Webb on Tuesday night, declined to go into specifics as to what Lee's opinion was, and Webb has not been available for comment. "He's down, but he's clearheaded," Byrnes said of Webb. Andrews, according to Webb, had given his shoulder a clean bill of health in December, saying that it looked like a typical pitcher's shoulder. Byrnes said that the process of gathering additional opinions should be over by Tuesday, at which point Webb will make a decision on the next step. Should Webb need surgery that requires a long recovery time, it could cause the D-backs to decline to exercise the contract option they have on Webb for next season. The option is for $8.5 million, and if they choose not to exercise it, they would owe him a $2 million buyout. Webb, 30, has been a mainstay in the Arizona rotation since 2003, when he finished third in the National League Rookie of the Year voting. In addition to winning the Cy Young in '06, Webb finished second in both '07 and '08. Last season, he was 22-7 with a 3.30 ERA, continuing his reputation as a workhorse. After being called up in April 2003, he made 28 starts and never fell short of 33 starts in any season since. Webb and the D-backs agreed on a three-year contract extension early last season, but the D-backs decided to withdraw their offer amid concerns raised over his shoulder when the team tried to get insurance for the contract.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.