Webb gives up on starting in '10, eyes 'pen

Webb gives up on starting in '10, eyes 'pen

PHOENIX -- Time is running out for Brandon Webb to see any game action and the D-backs' ace has given up on the notion of starting a game this year.

"I think starting is now out of the question," he said. "Starting is unrealistic."

Instead, Webb will focus on trying to return as a reliever this year and get whatever innings he can that way.

Right now, though, he's still got some work to do before he's ready to pitch in relief. Webb threw a bullpen session when the team was in New York last weekend, but he has been shut down from throwing them for the time being.

Webb said he was told that he will get more out of playing long toss than throwing bullpens, so that's what he's going to do for the next couple of weeks.

"My arm feels good, but in order to face some batters, I need to get some more velocity," he said. "That's the only thing that is standing in my way right now. I feel like if I get my velocity, if I throw a couple of 'pens and a couple of simulated games, it'll be right around Sept. 1 and no Minor Leagues are going to be playing, they'll be done. I'll have to throw out of the 'pen here."

Webb will not be with the team on its upcoming road trip as he returns home to Kentucky due to an illness in his family. He will continue to long toss there, playing catch with his father, Philip.

Webb will be a free agent at season's end and he knows that if he doesn't throw some innings this year, he will have to throw for interested teams during the offseason, much like Ben Sheets did before signing with the A's this past winter.