Giants

Giants

PHOENIX -- Logan Webb will still be three months short of his 23rd birthday when he takes the ball Saturday, and he'll toe the rubber knowing it's an important game for the Giants as they try to make up ground in the wild-card race. There will be plenty of reasons to be nervous, but Webb's debut might actually be easier to handle mentally than his lone Triple-A start. 

The Rocklin native had plenty of family members and friends in the stands when he made his Triple-A debut in nearby Sacramento on Monday. He thought a lot about his promotion and the better hitters he would be facing and the fact that the new ball in Triple-A has turned an entire league into Coors Field. But then Webb got some advice from Ryan Vogelsong, a roving instructor in the organization who has kept his eye on the top prospect for a while and was sent to Sacramento for his debut. 

"This is the same thing you've been doing your whole career," Vogelsong told Webb. 

The young right-hander settled in and dominated. Five days later, he'll make his big league debut. The Giants made a poorly kept secret official Friday, naming Webb, their top pitching prospect, as their Saturday starter.

"It's been crazy," Webb said. "The last four weeks, this is my fourth place I've been. It's been interesting, but I'm just excited to be here."

Webb, a sturdy 6-foot-2 right-hander, was taken in the fourth round of the 2014 draft out of Rocklin High in Northern California. He took off in San Jose in 2018 and finished the year with six encouraging starts for Double-A Richmond, earning him a few weeks in big league camp this spring. 

 

The Giants had high hopes for Webb, but he was suspended May 1 after testing positive for Dehydrochlormethyltestosterone, a performance-enhancing substance. Webb was adamant from the start that he did not know how the substance got into his body. He released a strong statement that started with "For the past month and a half I have tried endlessly to find the answer to why the M4 metabolite was found in my urine sample." 

Asked Friday about the positive test, Webb said he never figured out what happened and otherwise would prefer to stick to the previous statement. He indicated that there are still people trying to find answers, but declined to elaborate. 

"It's tough, it is," he said, the emotion clear in his voice. "It's tough to think about it, but at the same time my family, my friends and my teammates were supporting me. Those are the people I've got to lean on. I'll definitely always have a little chip on my shoulder. I think I've always had that, but it's a little bigger now."

Webb said the positive test is something he'll "never shake" and will "have to deal with forever." He remains hopeful that he one day gets further clarity. 

"But until that day I've got to cope with it, deal with it, and keep moving forward," he said. 

Webb has done so quickly. The suspension lasted 80 games and he spent that time throwing at the minor league facility here in Scottsdale. He returned to Richmond on July 28 for three starts and then made one for the River Cats. Overall, Webb has a 1.85 ERA in the minor leagues this season with more than a strikeout per inning. He allowed just one run over those seven innings on Monday. 

It's a power repertoire, one the Giants have been eager to take a look at. Their rotation issues have Webb in the big leagues faster than expected when you factor in the suspension, but the plan was always for him to be here at some point.

[RELATED: Webb motivated by PED suspension]

The Giants love Webb's mentality -- there's a reason Vogelsong has worked with him -- and feel he's ready for the challenge. Webb said he'll keep his aggressive approach against the Diamondbacks. 

"That's what they've been telling me, do the same thing that you've been doing," he said. "Attack hitters and get outs as fast as I can."