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Former D-back Webb still hopes for comeback

PHO View Full Game Coverage ENIX -- When he was invited to participate in the first D-backs Alumni Game on Saturday, Brandon Webb was asked if wanted to pitch.

Lord knows he does and has wanted to ever since he walked off the mound with a sore shoulder on Opening Day 2009. Webb had no idea that it would be the last time he would appear in a Major League game.

Two shoulder procedures and several rehab attempts later, Webb's career could very well be over.

"I haven't retired yet, but I don't know," Webb said. "I may pick up a ball this winter and just check it out. I'm not doing anything right now."

After spending the entire 2010 season on the disabled list for the D-backs, Webb signed a free-agent deal with the Rangers. He made it as far as a rehab assignment with Double-A Frisco before he was forced to shut it down again.

"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."

Webb underwent a second procedure last August almost two years to the day of his first one and had some of the bone marrow from his hip put into his shoulder.

"I got up to 87 mph at times last year, but a lot of times it was 82 mph," Webb said. "I was never able to get that real good extension to where I could get that movement like it was. I wasn't loose, I just couldn't get after it. Every time I try to get velocity or try to pitch with intensity, it's not there. I don't know what happened."

Earlier this summer, he was back throwing, but the velocity never returned.

"I felt like I was throwing pretty good, but I couldn't get my velocity up," he said. "I finally threw about 82 and that was like the best day. I could never throw worth a darn. I felt like I was putting in all this time, it had been so long since I'd pitched, so I just shut it down. I said I'm not going to throw right now. I haven't retired yet, but I don't know. I'll tinker around a little this winter and start tossing."

Coming to terms with his sudden exit from the game has been tough for Webb.

Prior to 2009, he had not had any arm trouble, and from 2004 through 2008 he started 35, 33, 33, 34 and 34 games. In 2006 he won the National League Cy Young Award, and in 2008 he was 22-8 and finished second in the Cy Young Award voting for the second straight year.

Four innings into the 2009 season, it was all over at the age of 30.

"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."

Arizona Diamondbacks, Brandon Webb