TUCSON, Ariz. -- Arizona Diamondbacks ace Brandon Webb says he felt 'stagnant' in his latest bullpen session and is impatient with himself for not having mustered much intensity in his rehabilitation.
Webb, recovering from right shoulder surgery that kept him out of all but the opening game last season, threw 45 pitches on Thursday before Arizona's spring training opener against Colorado.
"I'm feeling kind of stagnant right now. I want to feel some progressing every time and things like that," Webb said afterward. "I feel like the last couple of times out it's been about the same."
Manager A.J. Hinch, on the other hand, said he sees progression in Webb's recovery plan.
"Continuing to take steps forward, continuing to not have setbacks is the goal," Hinch said. "Right now we're right on track, but he's going to graduate to the next stage of his rehab program pretty soon."
That next step probably will come on Sunday, when Webb tentatively is scheduled to pitch to "live" batters for the first time. He hopes that will fire up his approach. It gets old, he said, just throwing to a catcher with no batter.
Webb noticed the difference on Thursday when pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. pretended to be a hitter for a few pitches.
"It was just Stott standing in there, and the intensity was up just a hair," he said. "So I'm thinking if I can get some hitters in there and get a new look, get something other than twos [catchers] catching me, the intensity will bump up a bit more.
Webb said it was his eighth bullpen session, the last three in Tucson. Webb hopes to pitch in a spring training game in about two weeks. He is tentatively penciled in to start the third game of the regular season against San Diego on April 7.
"I'm impatient right now," he said. "I'm ready to go and let it loose. I want to throw in a game and stuff like that. Obviously I'm not ready to do that right now. The next step is facing live hitters and that will be coming up."
The 2006 NL Cy Young Award winner, 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.
While Webb said he needs to "jack myself up on the mound" to intensify his rehabilitation work, he also has to be careful.
"I don't want to overdo it, either. I don't want to set myself back. That's something in the back of my mind always," Webb said. "...I feel a little cautious still, but I want to also push myself to something I can handle."