PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) – The first Pirates’ Rule 5 pick since Gustavo Nunez in 2011, 6-foot-6-inch Tyler Webb is trying to find his role in a bullpen full of lefties.
Webb has made six appearances this Spring, allowing four runs in 11 innings. Last year with the Yankees Triple A team in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Webb was 4-3 with a 3.59 ERA, making five stars and striking out 82.
It’s odd for the Pirates this year, likely without a lefty starter, the Bucs already have locks Tony Watson and Felipe Riviero, veteran Antonio Bastardo, Wade LeBlanc and Webb in the bullpen. That’s too many lefties. The trick with Webb is if he doesn’t make the Opening Day roster, the Bucs must offer him back to New York, unless they work out a trade to keep him.
“The Yankees are a great organization, the Pirates are a great organization,” Webb said. “Obviously, I’d like to be here, it’s a little better opportunity. Two great organizations, there are worse scenarios to be in for sure.”
Webb was working out the morning of the Rule 5 Draft and didn’t realize the Pirates picked him until he saw it on Twitter. The Virginia native said he is excited about a new start, saying one of the benefits is that the Pirates never saw the struggles he’s had. It’s a clean slate.
There is one issue that his friends brought up to him almost immediately upon being selected by the Pirates. He will have to bat. Webb said he hasn’t hit since high school and said that “it wasn’t pretty.”
“I wouldn’t say I’m running to get in the cage every day, but I’ve definitely worked on it,” Webb said. “Try and do my job if I get in the batters’ box.”
Other than batting, there is something else that has haunted Jon Tyler Webb. The times people call him Ty Webb, when he was a kid he didn’t get it. Then, he said he finally snuck out of his house and watched the movie “Caddyshack.”
“Ty Webb” is an off-color character played by Chevy Chase in the movie. Some of the phrases uttered by “Ty Webb” are comedic gold, and the Pirates pitcher, Tyler, has heard them all and says if he had to have the same name as used in a movie, it’s a pretty good character to be compared to.
“I definitely get a lot of the “Caddyshack” references, some of the good minor league parks will play “Caddyshack” theme music when I’m warming up which everyone gets a good kick out of. It’s all in good fun,” Webb said.