MESA, Ariz. -- D-backs general manager Josh Byrnes said on Thursday that it is possible right-hander Brandon Webb will have to start the season on the disabled list. "I don't think it's a definite," Byrnes said. "With where we are in Spring Training, if we can't get him going into games by next weekend or so then I think it's going to be hard to get him ready for that first start." Webb, who is recovering from August right shoulder surgery, has thrown eight bullpen sessions over the past month and a half and said on Wednesday that he feels like he is "stagnant."
Pain in the shoulder does not appear to be the issue for Webb right now, but it seems to be more a matter of letting the ball go without worrying about his shoulder. "In many respects, he's about where we want him to be," Byrnes said. "Now, again, it's a reality of he needs to have four or five Spring Training starts in order to be ready for the first regular-season start, so if that's going to happen, we need to know fairly soon." D-backs manager A.J. Hinch said at the start of camp that the goal was to have Webb pitching in Cactus League games by the middle of the month, which would give him enough time to be ready to start the third game of the regular season. Byrnes emphasized that the goal is to have Webb healthy for an entire season, not just be ready for Opening Day. "If you have to concede a little bit of time on the front end of the schedule to keep him healthy for the long haul, then that's what we'll do," Byrnes said. "But we haven't had to make that decision yet." Webb is slated to face hitters for the first time in a live batting-practice session either Sunday or Monday. "We'll continue to assess. It's going to be a gradual process," Byrnes said. "We're taking the longer view of six months and how to get the most out of him over the length of the season." Webb acknowledged on Wednesday that he was less than thrilled with his bullpen session. "I just need a little more intensity," he said. "I need to jack myself up, I need something. I don't want to overdo it either, I don't want to set myself back. That's like the thing that's in the back of my mind always. I'm set up right now to be where I need to be and one little setback would probably push me back to where I don't want to be. Still a little cautious."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.