Webb threw off the mound on Saturday as D-backs pitchers and catchers went about their first workout of the spring under blue skies. Now the unquestioned ace of the staff, even with the presence of Randy Johnson, Webb said he doesn't feel any additional pressure.
"I feel the same that I did the first four years I've been here, so I don't think anything will change with that," he said. "I feel comfortable where I'm at, and I'm excited to get the season started."
One thing that Webb wants to work on this spring is his changeup. Aside from his signature sinker, the change is probably his most effective pitch. It took him until midseason to become comfortable with it last year, and it was the one pitch that irritated his sore elbow during the second half. He's thrown it over the winter and again on Saturday with no problems.
"To get that going early and get it consistent and if it's as good as it was last year, it [will be] a huge pitch for me," he said.
The pitch has downward movement like his sinker, but not as much tail. When he throws it with the same arm action as his fastball, it's tough for hitters to adjust.
The D-backs are expected to announce in the next couple of days that they've reached an agreement with radio analyst Tom Candiotti on a four-year contract extension through the 2011 season.
Candiotti's extension solidifies Arizona's television and radio teams for the foreseeable future. Radio play-by-play man Greg Schulte signed an extension through 2011 recently, and television play-by-play man Daron Sutton, who was hired in November to replace Thom Brennaman, is signed through 2011 with a three-year team extension option through 2014.
A longtime big-league pitcher, Candiotti will be entering his second season in the Arizona booth in 2007.
Stiffness: Left-hander Doug Davis did not throw his scheduled bullpen session on Saturday due to stiffness in his back.
"Tightened up on him a little bit," D-backs manager Bob Melvin said. "We'll be proactive early on. This isn't the most important day. Whether we give him a day or so, I don't know."
Davis said he's experienced the discomfort in his back plenty of times before, but that it's never been anything serious and that MRIs have shown that there's nothing structurally wrong. He spent the morning getting treatment on it and said he was hopeful he could be back on the mound on Sunday.
"It's already feeling better as we speak," he said.
Good to see you:
Rookie Micah Owings impressed Melvin with his bullpen session on Saturday.
The right-hander started the 2006 season at Double-A, where he went 6-2 with a 2.91 ERA. That earned him a promotion to Triple-A, where he was even more impressive, going 10-0 with a 3.70 ERA.
"Wanted to see him first hand," Melvin said. "Saw him for I think one inning last spring, he wasn't a focal guy that we were taking a harder look at. I didn't realize how big he was. The ball jumps out of his hand. You can tell the kid has a lot of confidence. Very good athlete. One of those guys who has a belief that he's always going to win and his record would show that."
Owings is in competition for the No. 5 spot in the rotation.