It had been four months since Logan Webb last threw on a mound in a full-season league, so he understandably had some extra adrenaline pumping on Wednesday. Two pitches into his start, that extra energy might have proven to be too much as he plunked the leadoff man.
But once he threw his first strike, things clicked again and he quickly returned to midseason form.
The fourth-ranked Giants prospect ended up tossing five scoreless frames, yielding two hits and a walk while striking out four, as Class A Augusta topped Charleston, 4-2, at SRP Park.
Video: Webb strikes out the side for Augusta
"I felt really good, I was just trying to get out there and do my job and get through five innings, hopefully as quick as I could," Webb said. "I was able to do that, and I was very excited, just excited to be here and help these guys."
Webb delivered five strong starts with Double-A Richmond to start the season, compiling a 2.00 ERA and 1.15 WHIP with 31 strikeouts over 27 innings in the Eastern League. On May 1, he was handed an 80-game suspension after testing positive for the banned performance-enhancing substance Dehydrochlormethyltestosterone.
Gameday box score
The right-hander missed all of May and June and returned to the mound on July 12 in the Rookie-level Arizona League. In his first start back with the AZL Giants Orange, he gave up a run on six hits with six strikeouts over five frames.
It had been a long layoff since he last pitched in a full-season game, but Webb said he was grateful to get back out there and perform well. Coming into the contest, he had a strategy how to attack the RiverDogs, and for the most part, it worked.
"We saw that we could go inside to these guys a little bit and that was kind of the game plan we had," Webb said. "So, establishing that inside zone, so it gives our relievers a chance to go outside later in the game and some breaking balls later in the game. I thought we did a pretty good job trying to enforce that and overall felt really well."
Back on the hill with Augusta, where he last pitched in 2016, Webb got back to business by throwing 39 of 64 pitches for strikes while facing three batters over the minimum. Without relying on the punchout, he induced six groundouts and one flyout.
The 2014 fourth-round pick plunked Brandon Lockridge to start the night. But Lockridge was quickly caught stealing second by catcher Andres Angulo and Webb induced back-to-back groundouts to end the opening frame. The hurler said he "gets that butterfly feeling" in just about every start, but this outing had a little extra to it. But once he calmed himself, the ball got rolling.
"Even on the second batter I threw two balls early and then threw my first strike and settled down," Webb said. "That was the main thing, I went into the dugout and said, 'Hey, I'm sorry.' I was so excited to be back out there, and overall, tried to keep that excitement honed in."
The California native worked around a single in the second and a walk in the third, then set down four in a row heading to the fifth.
2019 MiLB include
After Welfrin Mateo started the inning with a single, Webb fanned the final three batters to close his night as he lowered his ERA to 1.95 across 37 innings this year.
With this rehab start under his belt, he's hoping he can soon rejoin the Flying Squirrels and hopefully enjoy the same success he had in April.
"I've been talking to Willie Harris, the manager, and all those guys up there, they've been checking in on me a bunch, which was awesome," Webb said. "I'm excited, I told them I would be there soon and excited to go back up there and help those guys."
Diego Rincones, Frankie Tostado and Jose Layer each collected two hits as the GreenJackets took the rubber game of the three-game series.