CHICAGO — The Diamondbacks are going to have to replace their "most irreplaceable player," at least temporarily. Brandon Webb, a top candidate for the NL Cy Young Award, will miss his scheduled start Saturday.
Webb flew to the Valley on Tuesday night and underwent an MRI exam on Wednesday that showed no structural damage, the D-Backs said. He was to throw a side session Thursday, after which he was to be further evaluated.
"He's our most irreplaceable player and should be the Cy Young Award winner two-thirds of the way through the season,'' Byrnes said before Thursday's doubleheader. "At the same time, we have him signed through 2010 and we're going to make sure he's right before we put him out there. How he throws (Thursday) will probably dictate our timeline.''
Webb, who signed a $19.5 million contract extension that includes a team option in 2010, is 12-4 with a 2.74 ERA, tied for the league lead in victories and second in ERA.
He leads the NL with 167 1/3 innings and is second in fewest walks per nine innings, averaging 1.6. He is tied for sixth in the league with 125 strikeouts.
The D-Backs are likely to recall right-hander Dustin Nippert from Tucson to make the Saturday start, and it is conceivable, Byrnes said, that Webb could return to the rotation on Monday.
Nippert, 12-5 with a 5.05 ERA, is tied for the Pacific Coast League lead in victories. He made an emergency start for the D-Backs on June 7 necessitated when Juan Cruz was placed on the disabled list and gave up six runs in five innings of a 7-3 loss to Philadelphia.