Brandon Webb is settling into his role at the top of the rotation nicely. The Diamondbacks' new No. 1 starter retired all nine men he faced during a 12-1 Cactus League victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday at Tempe Diablo Stadium, striking out the side in the third inning.
He has not given up a hit in his two starts over five innings this spring.
"The hitters are still getting adjusted to live pitching,'' Webb said. "Overall, I'm excited. I'm comfortable with what I'm throwing up there.''
Webb benefited from defensive plays by third baseman Chad Tracy and shortstop Damion Easley in the second inning, when each made a back-handed play on a ground ball and threw a runner out at first.
Webb threw 32 pitches in the game, then another 15 in the bullpen afterward to get his work in.
"Webby had it all working — fastball, curve, change-up,'' manager Bob Melvin said.
ROTATION SHAPING UP
The rotation order behind Webb appears to be coming into focus.
After Webb starts the regular-season opener April 3 in Colorado, Orlando Hernandez is on a spring schedule that will make him the No. 2 starter.
Hernandez's first regular-season start will be April 5, after the D-Backs' scheduled off day April 4.
Miguel Batista and Russ Ortiz will fill the Nos. 3-4 spots.
Claudio Vargas and Brad Halsey will continue their pursuit of the No. 5 spot today, when each will start a split-squad game against Colorado.
THEY MEET AGAIN
D-Backs catcher Johnny Estrada and Angels outfielder Darin Erstad opposed each other Tuesday for the first time since June 6, when Erstad bowled over Estrada in a collision at the plate.
Estrada suffered a concussion and a neck injury on the play that bothered him all season.
The two did not speak when Erstad came to the plate in his two at-bats, but Estrada said that was fine.
"He's not really one of those guys who talks'' in the batter's box, Estrada said. "He's a gamer. He didn't say anything, and I kept my mouth shut. I don't hate him. I hope he doesn't hate me.''
Craig Counsell received a third opinion on the "slap'' tear of the labrum in his right shoulder Monday, this one from shoulder and arm expert Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala., who concurred with the original diagnosis of a small tear that should not prevent Counsell from playing this season.
Counsell received a cortisone shot Tuesday and is expected back in camp today.
While obviously concerned, the D-Backs pooh-poohed speculation that Counsell's season and career are in jeopardy.
"I think that's a stretch,'' manager Bob Melvin said. "Having a third opinion, people may look at that as a concern. We don't. We're encouraged with what we've heard.''
Third base coach Carlos Tosca will not require surgery on the broken fifth metatarsal of his right foot, making his return by opening day possible.
"I hope so. It depends on how fast it heals,'' said Tosca, struck by a line drive while coaching in the first inning of Monday's game in Tucson.
Tosca was told the recovery process is about four weeks.
New first base coach Lee Tinsley coached third Tuesday, with minor league infield coordinator Tony Perezchica taking first.
Miguel Batista gave up four runs on five hits in three innings in the Dominican Republic's 11-5 victory over Venezuela in the first round of the World Baseball Classic on Tuesday. . .
Shortstop Stephen Drew (shoulder) is expected to start the split-squad game against Colorado at Hi Corbett Field today, and Justin Upton also could play in the field. . . Tony Pena, who was 11 days late to camp because of visa problems, is tentatively scheduled to pitch in his first game Monday, Melvin said. . .
Chad Tracy and Estrada will be guests on ESPN2's “Cold Pizza” show this morning.