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Brandon Webb could return to mound next week

Feb 24, 2011, 2:50 PM EST

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Brandon Webb threw 60-65 pitches off flat ground Thursday, ESPN Dallas’ Richard Durrett reports, and appears to be on pace to return to the mound early next week.

Webb was taken off the mound after showing little velocity in his first bullpen session last week, putting his status for the beginning of the season in jeopardy. The Rangers seem happy with his progress since, though.

“Wow,” manager Ron Washington said after watching him throw today. “The ball was coming out of his hand really good. The arm strength is picking up.”

Webb underwent shoulder surgery in 2009 and hasn’t pitched in the majors since. If healthy, he’s slated to have a spot at the back of the Rangers rotation this season.

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