White Sox rookie Webb reflects on debut, long path to majors

White Sox rookie Webb reflects on debut, long path to majors
September 5, 2013, 5:15 pm

By Jake Rill

BALTIMORE — After Wednesday’s game against the New York Yankees, White Sox reliever Daniel Webb’s phone was bombarded with text messages.

“It was buzzing all night,” Webb said. “I’d say close to a hundred text messages.”

It was all because Webb was just hours removed from making his major league debut. Not only did he do that, but he debuted at Yankee Stadium.

And the first batter he faced was a future Hall of Famer in Derek Jeter.

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“It was unbelievable,” Webb said. “I’ll never forget it. ... Warming up, I was a little shaky and nervous. But as soon as I got on the game mound, it went away, and I was just trying to make my pitches. It’s still baseball, no matter where you’re playing.”

Webb’s debut didn’t go perfect. He walked Jeter and later allowed him to score on a sacrifice fly by Alfonso Soriano.

But it was what Webb had worked for since the beginning of his pro career in 2010.

“It’s worth it all,” Webb said. “You can’t beat playing in the big leagues. It’s something everyone that plays baseball dreams about.”

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Webb’s season began down at Class-A Winston-Salem. He also went through Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte before getting promoted to the big league team as a September call-up on Tuesday.

At the three minor league levels, Webb combined to go 2-1 with a 1.87 ERA in 42 relief appearances, while also earning 10 saves.

“It’s been a crazy road getting here,” Webb said. “A lot of things clicked for me this season. I struggled years past in the minor leagues.”

Now, he’s one of several young players trying to make a good impression over the final month of the season.

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In Wednesday’s game, Webb was not alone in making his major league debut. Starter Erik Johnson and infielder Marcus Semien also made their first professional appearances.

It was the first time since Sept. 7, 1999, that three White Sox players debuted in the same game.

Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham said it’s a good experience for the younger players late in the season and was reminded of his beginnings.

“It’s definitely fun for them, and it’s fun for us just to see them enjoying themselves,” Beckham said. “You enjoy that for them because you’ve been there and it’s something you remember. I still remember my first hit, and it’s something that’s just very cool.”

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As for Webb, the 24-year-old said he is going to continue to enjoy his time in the majors, while also trying to make improvements.

“I’m living my dream out right now,” Webb said. “A lot of things clicked, and it worked for me. It got me where I want to be. And now my goal is to stay here.”