Notes: Webb strong in penultimate start

Notes: Webb strong in penultimate start

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Brandon Webb showed no ill effects of missing his last start as he pitched six shutout innings Thursday against the Giants.

Webb missed his last start with a stiff neck and had not seen action since a "B" game against the White Sox back on March 11.

"It felt pretty good to get back out there and actually face some hitters," he said. "I located my fastball pretty well, and my changeup and curve were pretty good whenever I threw them. Overall, it went pretty well. No problems with the neck -- I think we're good to go with that."

Webb threw 69 pitches, 43 for strikes, and the sinkerballer recorded 14 of his 18 outs either on the ground or via the strikeout.

Scheduled to be the club's Opening Day starter, Webb will have one final start, which should come March 27. He would like to get his pitch count up to around 85 to be ready for the April 2 opener at Coors Field.

Saturday's the day: Randy Johnson will pitch in a game for the first time this spring Saturday, but don't run out and purchase tickets to the game against the White Sox because the Big Unit's action will come either in a "B" game or camp game.

Johnson, recovering from offseason back surgery, threw a bullpen session Thursday and will likely throw two innings or 35 pitches Saturday.

"I've busted my butt to get to this point," Johnson said. "So I'm very much interested in seeing how I do at this next point."

Firming up somewhat: It looks like second baseman Orlando Hudson will see plenty of time in the No. 2 spot in the batting order this year.

Though manager Bob Melvin has not ruled out using him in the leadoff role, Hudson tends to put pressure on himself when he's in that spot.

"Maybe I put a little bit of pressure on myself to get on base that first at-bat and set the tone," Hudson said.

"It's kind of a natural fit for him in the two-hole," Melvin said. "I think he's a little more comfortable in the two-hole. Where I'm kind of settling in here right now is probably him in the two-hole."

Hudson hit second Thursday with shortstop Stephen Drew in the leadoff spot.

"I'm liking right now the Drew one, Hudson two thing, at least in my mind right now," Melvin said.

Bad luck: Dana Eveland, who is competing for either a spot in the rotation or one in the bullpen, had his outing cut short by Thursday's rainout.

Eveland entered the game in the seventh and was supposed to finish out the game, but he wound up getting to face just three batters before the game ended.

Melvin said it won't hurt Eveland's chances of making the club and that they would find a way to get the left-hander some work in the next few days to make up for the missed outing.

DaVanon update: Injured outfielder Jeff DaVanon has been taking swings left-handed in the batting cage the past few days.

DaVanon, who had surgery on his right shoulder last August, had struggled with pain in the shoulder when swinging from the left side, but said Thursday that he's had no problems the past few days.

Despite that, Melvin said it's a certainty that DaVanon will start the year on the disabled list.

Up next: The D-backs return to Tucson on Friday to play host to the Royals. Livan Hernandez will get the start for the D-backs. Hernandez has struggled in his past few outings and has a 13.06 ERA so far this spring.

Brandon Lyon, Brandon Medders and Jorge Julio are scheduled to follow Hernandez. Gil Meche will start for Kansas City.

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.