D-backs ace Webb likely to start season on DL

Arizona manager A.J. Hinch says there’s an increasing chance that Brandon Webb will start the season on the disabled list.

Webb reached what Hinch called a "plateau" in his comeback from surgery on his right shoulder. He has not thrown a bullpen session for a week after saying he felt "stagnant" and was not making the progress he expected.

Since then, the 2006 NL Cy Young Award winner has only been playing catch. Hinch said Thursday that Webb felt the best he has all camp after Wednesday’s throwing session, and a flat-ground bullpen outing could be scheduled soon.

"It’s getting fairly obvious that it’s going to be difficult to get him ready for the season," Hinch said, "but I don’t think we’re to that date quite yet. But again, I think the most important thing is to get him healthy."

Webb tentatively had been penciled in as the team’s No. 3 starter with his first outing on April 7.

Hinch still expects Webb to pitch in a game situation during spring training.

"Just because he’s delayed and we had to take a little bit of a stop doesn’t mean he’s shut down," he said. "He’s throwing. … You never know when it’s going to click for him and he’s going to feel better. This might be all he needed was a couple of days’ breather."

Webb never had a significant injury before the shoulder problem, pitching more than 200 innings in each season from 2004 through 2008. He led the NL in victories when he went 22-7 in 2008.

The right-hander didn’t throw on Thursday and will toss again on flat ground on Friday. Hinch hopes Webb can resume bullpen sessions after that.