Webb reinvents himself by throwing more strikes

Webb reinvents himself by throwing more strikes

PITTSBURGH -- Little doubt existed as to what Daniel Webb had to correct in order to return to the White Sox bullpen.

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The 25-year-old right-hander needed to throw more quality strikes after walking 42 over 67 2/3 innings last season.

"Everybody knows and I knew that I needed to quit walking people," Webb said. "It was kind of in my mind and I was going about it the wrong way. Instead of just saying, 'Challenge a guy and throw a strike,' I would say, 'All right don't throw a ball.' So, I think that's probably the biggest thing. My thought process of challenging hitters.

"Last year I got too caught up in trying to not throw balls. Then I'd fall behind and it was like, 'All right I have to make a pitch,' and put too much pressure on myself, instead of just trying to throw quality strikes. Good hitters will hit good pitches. I'm just challenging guys and going right after guys with my stuff instead of trying to nitpick around the edge of the zone."

Webb certainly has the raw stuff to succeed, having been discussed as a potential closer candidate prior to the 2014 season and prior to the addition of David Robertson. But after making 57 appearances in 2014 and then starting the 2015 season with Triple-A Charlotte, Webb knew a very basic change needed to be made.

"At no point did I think that I was a shoe-in to make the club out of camp," Webb said. "I was told before the season started, just like last year, I would be trying to make the team. I never looked at it any other way.

"I just didn't have the numbers in spring, and I didn't pitch that well. I don't want to say I saw it coming but I knew I had to improve on a lot of different things in my game. I worked some of that out."

Since rejoining the White Sox on June 1, Webb has not allowed an earned run over 7 2/3 innings. He also has walked just one, intentionally, while striking out 10 and has thrown 73 of his 109 pitches for strikes.

A quicker pitch delivery tempo stands as Webb's only change mechanically. But his biggest change stands within the zone.

"Going into camp, I knew that I had to throw strikes with the way it ended last year with me not throwing strikes," Webb said. "I knew it was something they would harp on this year, so that was the biggest thing for me."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.