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Wire Taps: Washington Nationals' Starter Search Turns To Brandon Webb.

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The Washington Nationals announced Friday that they had unconditionally released RHP Tyler Walker, who had surgery to repair a torn labrum after he'd signed with Washington last winter for one year/$650,000 and had pitched just 35.1 innings as a National.

The Washington Nationals signed Chien-Ming Wang after he'd had surgery to repair the capsule in his right shoulder. The Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo took a chance on the 30-year-old former NY Yankee, who finally returned to the mound in September in the Florida Instructional League and is now up for arbitration. Mr. Rizzo and Wang's agent Alan Nero told MASNSports.com's Ben Goessling in an article entitled, "Wang starts today; agent optimistic about deal with Nats", that they thought the right-hander would be back with Washington in 2011.

In a radio interview after the Nationals officially announced the injury to '09 no.1 overall pick Stephen Strasburg's elbow, the D.C. GM was quoted saying that the one positive that could be pulled from the 22-year-old having Tommy John surgery was that, "...it's elbow. It's Tommy John, it's not shoulder, labrum or [rotator] cuff, so although it's a longer rehabilitation," Mr. Rizzo said, "we feel good about the track record and the history of the results of Tommy John surgery." 

Recovery from shoulder surgeries, on the other hand, is less predictable...

Or as Arizona Republic writer Nick Piecoro put it in an April 2010 article entitled, "Arizona Diamondbacks' Brandon Webb trying to remain patient in recovery process", shoulder procedures, "...lack the comparatively predictable recovery timetable of elbow procedures. Every pitcher is different." Before he underwent surgery on his shoulder, Arizona's one-time Cy Young starter, the now-31-year-old Brandon Webb, a 2000 8th Round D-Backs' draft pick, was a perennial All-Star and Cy Young award hopeful, but now Webb's future in Arizona is in question with free agency league-wide looming this Saturday night and the D-Backs' owner all but wishing Webb well in the future in an odd public comment. The D-Backs' GM and Executive VP Kevin Towers was quoted by the AP in the same article saying that Arizona had, "...not entirely closed the door on Brandon returning to the D-Backs next season," but as the GM explained, "I understand the process he and his agent are going through at this time as a free agent." 

Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore reported this afternoon that Webb, who was drafted and developed when D.C. GM Mike Rizzo was the D-Backs' Director of Scouting, is a target for the Nationals, who are looking to bolster a rotation weakened by the injury to Strasburg, and have said they want to add a top-of-the-rotation arm. Mr. Kilgore writes that Webb would be, "..a low-risk, high-reward free agent who once fit that definition." As Mr. Kilgore notes, however, the right-hander hasn't thrown a pitch in competitive action since Opening Day of 2009. One would hope the pursuit of Webb would be in addition to the no.1-ish starter the Nats have discussed pursuing...

MLB.com's Bill Ladson reported last month in an article entitled, "Nationals to scout free-agent-to-be Webb", that Washington had sent scouts to watch Webb throw in the Florida Instructional League, and in Mr. Ladson's words, "It was learned by MLB.com on Friday that he would have interest in playing for the Nationals if he doesn't re-sign with the D-backs."