Webb continues to impress at camp

Webb continues to impress at camp

TUCSON, Ariz. -- It was only a bullpen session, but the 45 pitches Brandon Webb threw on Thursday morning had the D-backs feeling good.

"I feel like every time I'm getting somewhere," Webb said. "So eventually I'm going to get to where I need to be. Today was by far the best day. It's just going to be a process."

The 45 pitches were the most he has thrown off the mound in any of his six bullpen sessions since he began throwing again last month.

For the first time since shoulder surgery in August, Webb threw changeups from the mound. The session also marked the first time Webb worked from the stretch.

While his shoulder has been good for Webb during his bullpen sessions, he has struggled to get his mechanics and release point where he wants them. In that regard, Thursday's session was a big step forward.

"He really kind of pushed toward what I would call a normal bullpen," said Arizona manager A.J. Hinch. "That was a great step forward for him. I thought the finish to his throw was better. It's more mechanical now, it's not a matter of strength or distance or anything like that. It's kind of finding his arm swing again to where it feels normal as opposed to robotic. It's getting to the point now where it's clicking."

Webb will take two days off before throwing another bullpen session Sunday. In the meantime, Webb is going to play long toss in an effort to stretch his arm out more.

"Volume-wise he's throwing probably more pitches than the rest of camp," Hinch said. "Now, intensity-wise that's where we're monitoring him a little bit."

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Webb started Opening Day for the D-backs in 2009 and lasted just four innings. After the game, he complained of discomfort in his shoulder and did not pitch again the rest of the year.

That lack of being on the mound regularly has made it difficult for Webb to get used to being back up there. On flat ground, his mechanics are right where he wants them, but on the mound it's a little different.

"It's just a process of relearning, I guess," he said. "The slope is so much different. I feel totally fine on flat ground, but getting on the slope, it's different working downhill. It's crazy. I hadn't thrown off the mound for roughly 11 months or so. You wouldn't think it would be that tough, but it is. I don't know about relearning totally how to throw, but it kind of is."

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