NEW YORK -- Rangers pitcher Brandon Webb threw 70 pitches in the bullpen on Sunday afternoon. Afterward, Webb said he would be willing to work out of the bullpen as a reliever if that's what the Rangers need when he gets back.
"I would do it," Webb said. "I would rather start, but if it's a chance to pitch, I'd do it."
Webb, who hasn't pitched in a Major League game in more than two years because of a shoulder injury, was signed as a starter by the Rangers in the winter. He won the National League Cy Young Award in 2006 and was a 22-game winner in '08. But he is still four to six weeks away from completing his comeback, and the Rangers' rotation has been very good lately.
Texas' starting staff went into Sunday's game with a 2.63 ERA, second lowest in the American League. Right now there is no room for Webb, Tommy Hunter or Scott Feldman -- three successful big league starters who are all on the disabled list.
Webb's first appearance in the big leagues with the D-backs was a reliever. He pitched one scoreless inning, and since then, he has made 198 straight starts. The only other two appearances as a reliever were in the All-Star Game in 2006 and '08.
"Whenever I'm ready to go, we'll re-evaluate it then and where I fit," Webb said. "I don't make that call."
General manager Jon Daniels said it's way too early to worry about where any of the Rangers' injured pitchers will slot in when they return. None are expected to be back within a month.
Webb's next step will be batting practice in Arlington on Friday. After that he might be assigned to extended Spring Training in Arizona, where he would start pitching in games.
Feldman (knee surgery) and Hunter (strained groin muscle) are still on throwing programs. Feldman is throwing off a mound in Arizona, while Hunter is still throwing on flat ground in Arlington. He could move to the mound later this week and join Feldman in Arizona.