Webb passes first tough test vs. LA stars

Rotation hopeful embracing competition with teammates

March 3rd, 2021

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- When Giants right-hander took a look at the top of the Dodgers’ lineup on Tuesday, he knew he’d have his work cut out for him.

The reigning World Series champions sent Mookie Betts, Corey Seager and A.J. Pollock to the plate in the first inning, but Webb managed to retire the trio in order while making his first start of the spring in the Giants’ 1-1, seven-inning tie at Scottsdale Stadium.

“Those guys are incredible,” Webb said afterward. “It’s hard, but you’ve just got to look at it as another opponent.”

Webb induced a popout from Betts, struck out Seager on a nice changeup and then ended his outing with a “loud out” from Pollock, who drove an 0-1 pitch to the warning track in center field. Mauricio Dubón managed to track the ball down, though, preserving Webb’s scoreless inning.

“I was a little angry about the last pitch,” Webb said. “He hit it pretty good, but then [Dubón] started to slow down. That's always a good thing when you see the outfielder starting to slow down and kind of read it. I’m happy he was able to get under it.”

Webb was a mainstay in the Giants’ rotation last season, but the club now appears to have five starters ahead of him in Kevin Gausman, Johnny Cueto and newcomers Anthony DeSclafani, Alex Wood and Aaron Sanchez. Still, the 24-year-old Webb is viewed as a big piece of the Giants’ future and should have plenty of opportunities to make starts in the Majors in 2021.

“I'm just looking at it as an opportunity to compete with my teammates,” Webb said when asked about the rotation competition. “It's going to be fun. I’ve gotten to meet every guy. It’s fun talking to them. A lot of veteran guys like [Scott Kazmir] and Sanchy. It's fun to talk to those guys and kind of pick their brains and use some of the stuff they think about and use on the mound. I'm excited to compete with those guys.”

After struggling with consistency last season, Webb spent the offseason focusing on being able to throw his offspeed pitches, specifically his changeup and his slider, for strikes. The Giants believe Webb’s changeup can be a particularly effective weapon for him moving forward, which he demonstrated with his strikeout of Seager on Tuesday.

“I feel pretty confident throwing it to anybody right now,” Webb said.

Giants reportedly close to signing Álvarez
The Giants are nearing a deal with left-handed reliever José Álvarez, according to a report from MLB Network insider Jon Heyman on Tuesday. Álvarez, 31, has a 3.59 ERA over eight Major League seasons with the Tigers, Angels and Phillies, where he pitched under Kapler in 2019.

The club has not confirmed the deal.

It’s unclear whether Álvarez will receive a Major League contract, but the Giants are already fairly deep when it comes to left-handed relief options. They signed veteran Jake McGee to a two-year, $7 million deal last month and also have Jarlín García, Wandy Peralta, Sam Selman and Caleb Baragar on their 40-man roster.

Up next
The Giants will enjoy an off-day on Wednesday before hosting the White Sox at Scottsdale Stadium on Thursday at 12:05 p.m. PT. Left-hander Alex Wood will make his Giants debut and start opposite Chicago righty Lance Lynn. McGee, Yunior Marte, James Sherfy, Sam Wolff, Zack Littell and Shun Yamaguchi are also scheduled to pitch for San Francisco.