Tag:Roy Oswalt
Posted on: February 14, 2011 7:37 pm
 

Stuff my editors whacked from the column

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Outtakes from a day with a Phillies' rotation that is moving into history's on-deck circle (maybe):

-- It bears repeating, because Cliff Lee mentioned it a couple of times Monday: He signed with the Phillies, he said, because "it was really about what team gave me the best chance to win world championships over the life of the contract."

He did not say he signed with Philly because it was best for his family. He did not say his wife loved it there. He did not say he signed to be close to Philly cheesesteak sandwich heaven (though he did allow, "I like Philly cheesesteaks. But that had nothing to do with me coming back to Philly.").

"I think Philadelphia fans should feel real proud about that," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro said, referring not to the scrumptious sandwiches, but to Lee's feeling that Philadelphia can become Titletown. "I think things really started rolling as far as putting us back on the map, so to speak, when Jim Thome came here [in 2003].

"Ed [Wade, former Phillies GM] did a fantastic job bringing Jim here.. I think it legitimized what we were trying to do."

-- Lee's decision to bypass the Yankees and Texas reinforces what has been becoming fact these past few years: Philadelphia has become a destination for ace pitchers. Lee by choice, Roy Halladay waving no-trade powers to land with the Phillies and Roy Oswalt doing the same.

Which is very interesting, given that Citizens Bank Park has earned a unanimous reputation for being a hitter's haven.

"It's kind of a testament to the fans' support, and to winning, too," Amaro said. "It's a testament to the faith that our ownership group has in the front office to make these moves. It's a testament to all in our organization creating an atmosphere where Philadelphia has become a place where people like to go, from the guards who watch the cars in the players' lot to the people who take care of the wives' lounge, the medical staff.

"We make a concerted effort to build relationships here."

-- Manager Charlie Manuel opted to pass when asked which of his Murderers' Row rotation members would get the opening day start.

"We've got a chance to have a special club," Manuel said. "We've got a guy who threw two no-hitters and won a Cy Young [Roy Halladay] last year, and the other three guys standing there are tremendous pitchers.

"We're going to have a No. 1 starter going every day, so it doesn't really matter."

Of the Phillies' quintet, Cole Hamels is the only one never to have started on opening day. Halladay did it in Toronto and in Philadelphia last year, Lee's done it, Oswalt did it plenty in Houston and Joe Blanton did it in Oakland.

"The real good part of it is, it doesn't matter who you pick, it doesn't faze the other guys," pitching coach Rich Dubee said. "I don't think any of them has a big enough ego to say 'I have to have the ball on opening day.'

"They all want the ball 33 to 35 times."

Sunblock Day? It was perfect. High right around 70 degrees.

Likes: Great line from Yankees' starter CC Sabathia, that he lost a bunch of weight over the winter because he "stopped eating Capt'n Crunch." I would have picked A.J. Burnett as the Captain Crunch eater of that group. ... Phillies pitching prospect Justin DeFratus, who pitched in the Arizona Fall League last year, taking it all in early Monday morning before the first workout for pitchers and catchers. "It's been crazy here so far," DeFratus said ... Philadelphia GM Ruben Amaro wearing a baseball cap with the final scoreboard line score from Halladay's playoff no-hitter against Cincinnati stitched onto the front. ... Arcade Fire winning a Grammy for best album for The Suburbs. Excellent. Great performances, too. ... Winter's Bone.

Dislikes: Getting to the gate for your flight at 6 a.m. and hearing the attendant say, "Sorry, this flight is delayed until at least 10." ... Missed Bob Dylan on the Grammy's Sunday night because of a too-long travel day.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Kids wanna be so hard
"But in my dreams we're still screamin' and runnin' through the yard
"And all of the walls that they built in the '70s finally fall
"And all of the houses they build in the '70s finally fall
"Meant nothin' at all
"Meant nothin' at all
"It meant nothin'
"Sometimes I can't believe it
"I'm movin' past the feeling
"Sometimes I can't believe it
"I'm movin' past the feeling and into the night
"So can you understand?
"Why I want a daughter while I'm still young
"I wanna hold her hand
"And show her some beauty
"Before this damage is done"

-- Arcade Fire, The Suburbs

Posted on: October 18, 2010 1:54 am
Edited on: October 18, 2010 1:54 am
 

Memo to Cole Hamels: Re. pitching Cody Ross

PHILADELPHIA -- Looking like Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth and Barry Bonds rolled into one, San Francisco right fielder Cody Ross belted another home run in the Giants' 6-1 loss to the Phillies in Game 2 of the NL Championship Series here Sunday, giving him three home runs in two games.

That ranks second-most in Giants history in LCS play. Jeffrey Leonard holds the record with four in 1987.

Meantime, with four homers in his last three postseason games, Ross is one of four players in Giants history with at least four in single postseason. The others: Barry Bonds hit eight in 2002, Rich Aurilia six in '02 and Leonard four in '87.

So, how might Phillies starter Cole Hamels want to approach Ross in Game 3 at AT&T Park?

"Don't throw it down and in," said Roy Oswalt, who did just that in surrendering Ross' fifth-inning blast Sunday. "The last three balls that he hit were in the exact same spot. Just bad pitches."

True. Each of the homers Ross smashed against Roy Halladay in Game 1 also were middle-in.

"I mean, throwing it right into his bat, pretty much," Oswalt said. "If you can make your pitches, you are going to do well. But if you miss down-and-in, that's pretty much where he's hitting them."

In Ross' third plate appearance Sunday night, he nearly got another one. He drove center fielder Shane Victorino all the way back to the warning track before Victorino hauled it in.

That was a fastball over the plate, too, but not quite as inside as the three Ross drove over the left-field fence.

Does Ross pretty much figure he's seen the last of the inside fastballs for awhile?

"I'm not really worried about where they're pitching me," Ross said. "I'm just trying to see it."

He's been doing a good enough job of that that the Philadelphia crowd has started giving him the business. Playing the villain isn't exactly a role Ross is familiar with, given his heretofore nondescript days with the Florida Marlins, but it's a role he'll take.

"That's what you want as a player," Ross said. "I know they're not going to cheer for me. It definitely doesn't make me feel like I should stop.

"I want to keep going. It's kind of a weird feeling."

Posted on: July 30, 2010 4:24 pm
Edited on: July 30, 2010 6:17 pm
 

Dunn says he will DH: "My options are awesome"

Washington slugger Adam Dunn, subject of raging trade speculation as the Chicago White Sox, San Francisco Giants and others attempt to acquire him, is in the Washington lineup tonight and says he's amenable to going to an American League team to DH.

Dunn just finished speaking with reporters before heading out for batting practice, and colleague Danny Knobler is in D.C. for tonight's Roy Oswalt debut.

Here's what Danny passes along from Dunn:

"My options are awesome," said Dunn, who notoriously in the past has said he is not interested in being a designated hitter and prefers to stay in the NL.

Even if he's dealt to the AL and is asked to DH for the rest of the season?

"This will be a DH situation for two months," said Dunn, a free agent at season's end. "It's not career-ending."

Dunn, in good humor, also had a great line when asked his feelings about going to the White Sox if Chicago GM Kenny Williams is able to build the right package around pitcher Edwin Jackson.

"I like their uniforms," Dunn said. "I like black."

When the session ended, several reporters covering the Nationals shook Dunn's hand and wished him well.

"I'm not going anywhere," Dunn responded. "I'll see you guys after the game."

He may wind up being right or, at the very least, right for right now.

Even with fewer than 24 hours remaining before Saturday's 4 p.m. trade deadline, the Nationals are holding steady and not on the verge of dealing him.

"Suffice to say, he's a very popular player right now," Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo said during batting practice before the Nats-Phillies game.

As for the Nationals' high asking price, Rizzo said: "I will come to the price we set or we won't trade him. The price will not come down."

Posted on: July 28, 2010 10:01 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2010 11:10 pm
 

Dodgers acquire Podsednik, eye pitching help

The Dodgers made a trade Wednesday, but it wasn't one to strengthen their rotation and solve their dilemma of who's going to start Saturday against San Francisco.

Instead, they struck for an outfielder, acquiring veteran Scott Podsednik from Kansas City for a couple of minor-league prospects while continuing their search for a starting pitcher.

As for whether the Dodgers will be able to add a starter by Saturday's trade deadline -- they've inquired about Houston's Roy Oswalt and the Cubs' Ted Lilly, among others -- general manager Ned Colletti said it's still too early to know.

"Tough to tell," Colletti said early Wednesday evening. "You take it as it comes. This deal [Podsednik] came about. You don't have to put it in order. You get them done when you can."

Looking to beef up their versatility and add depth with Manny Ramirez disabled with a strained calf, the Dodgers sent two minor leaguers -- Triple-A catcher Lucas May and Double-A right-hander Elisaul Pimentel -- to the Royals for Podsedik. No money exchanged hands -- the Dodgers will pay the roughly $600,000 owed to Podsednik for the remainder of the year. His contract includes a $2 million club option for 2011 or a $100,000 buyout.

It's not a blockbuster deal, but with Ramirez on the DL for a third time this season and with the Dodgers running third in the NL West, the acquisition of Podsednik at least gives manager Joe Torre another option. Especially with another outfielder, Reed Johnson, also on the disabled list with a back injury and not expected to return for at least three or four more weeks.

"He brings a lot of different things to the club," Colletti said. "He's a good hitter -- his average is over .300 -- he drives in a lot of runs for hitting in a high spot in the order, he has speed, he can add a lot of different dimensions to the club.

"That he played on a World Series winner in Chicago a few years ago is also a plus."

In 94 games for Kansas City this season, Podsednik hit .310 and stole 30 bases. He also posted a .352 on-base percentage.

The Dodgers hope Podsednik arrives in San Diego in time for Thursday's 3:35 p.m. PDT start. He'll bring a 15-game hitting streak with him.

Meantime, the Dodgers right now are going with "to be determined" as the starter opposite San Francisco's Barry Zito on Saturday. Likely, it will be right-hander John Ely, who was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque on July.

Unless, of course, Colletti pulls a rabbit out of his cap for the Dodgers on the trade market.

Posted on: May 27, 2010 10:01 pm
 

Cardinals may need pitching soon

With right-hander Kyle Lohse set for forearm surgery on Friday and a long season stretched out in front of them, maybe scoring runs shouldn't be the Cardinals' chief concern after all.

Right now, even with a rotation that ranks second to San Diego's in the National League with a 3.03 ERA, the warning signs are flashing.

While the Cardinals figure to get right-hander Brad Penny back when he's eligible to return from the disabled list June 7, there is no timetable -- yet -- for Lohse's return.

And though rookie Jaime Garcia (1.14 ERA, 11 consecutive scoreless innings) has been sensational, he underwent Tommy John ligament transfer surgery in September, 2008, and only pitched a total of 37 2/3 innings combined at three minor-league levels in 2009.

Which all likely will put St. Louis in the market for more starting pitching at some point this season. Seattle's Cliff Lee, Houston's Roy Oswalt, Cleveland's Jake Westbrook and possibly even Oakland's Ben Sheets are all among the names expected to become available between now and the July 31 trade deadline, though La Russa -- whose club acquired John Smoltz last year -- isn't allowing his imagination to run wild at this point.

"I think it will come from within [the organization]," La Russa said of any eventual pitching reinforcements. "Mo [general manager John Mozeliak], can answer that better, and maybe differently. But I haven't heard anything different than from within."

It isn't that the Cardinals are anywhere close to trouble now, even with Lohse headed into unknown territory to undergo surgery for an injury to which there apparently is no precedent in major-league baseball.

With co-aces Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright breathing fire, the Cardinals are in good shape. Garcia, so far, so good.

"I think we'll get Penny back [when his DL stint is up]," manager Tony La Russa said Thursday. "That means we'll have four solid guys. There's a question mark on Lohse. But everybody has problems."

Until the Cardinals get Penny back, they're down two-fifths of their rotation. As La Russa said, for one thing, that gives an opportunity to rookie P.J. Walters, who made just his second career start on Thursday in San Diego.

The kid stepped up to the challenge, throwing five shutout innings. He allowed four hits, struck out four and walked two.

Saturday in Chicago's Wrigley Field, Adam Ottavino, the Cardinals' first-round pick in 2006, is expected to make his first major-league start. Another opportunity.

Garcia, 23, certainly has made the most of his. He's worked six or more innings and allowed two or fewer earned runs in each of his first seven starts, and the last rookie to do that was named Fernando Valenzuela, back in 1981.

The issue is, if Garcia continues pitching this well, it's hard to see how there won't be a breaking point when he reaches a certain number of innings. What are the Cardinals going to do, allow a prized kid less than two years off of Tommy John surgery to, say, quadruple his innings-pitched load from last year? He's at 55 1/3 innings pitched so far in 2010.

"You can't speculate," La Russa said. "All you can do is watch closely. He never really forced it ... you really have to wait and see how the season develops. We're going to be really careful with him."

Lohse was diagnosed this week with exertional compartment syndrome, an uncommon, exercise-induced neuromuscular condition that causes pain and swelling in the legs or arms. As St. Louis Post-Dispatch beat writer Joe Strauss reported, it is most common in marathon runners and motocross drivers. Athletes in those sports generally have resumed activity within six-to-eight weeks, though, as a pitcher, Lohse is expected to take a longer.

La Russa said Thursday he figures Lohse will return "this year. Other than that, we just have to wait."

Posted on: May 21, 2010 11:08 pm
Edited on: May 22, 2010 12:34 am
 

Astros' Oswalt wants to blast off -- elsewhere

Each man has his own breaking point, and Astros ace Roy Oswalt has reached his.

Saddled with the worst run support in the National League, a frustrated Oswalt essentially told the Astros to take his no-trade clause and shove it.

So much for the Craig Biggio-Jeff Bagwell Be An Astro For Life program.

In theory, at least.

There are two important things to understand here:

1. Just because Oswalt has requested a trade doesn't mean he'll get one.

2. Whatever happens, owner Drayton McLane, working on running his own organization into the ground, likely will screw it up.

How can I be so sure about that last point?

The Astros, in the process of going toes up in 2006 following their surprise World Series appearance in '05, were close to trading Oswalt to Baltimore at the '06 July deadline in a deal that would have brought them what they really needed at the time: A bat.

Specifically, Miguel Tejada's bat.

This was back when Tejada was still playing 162 games a season, slugging 25 homers and knocking in 100 or more runs.

But McLane, with a personal affinity for Oswalt, frustrated the Orioles by pulling Oswalt off the table. The Astros wound up finishing second in the NL Central that summer (82-80) and have not finished higher than third in the division since.

That's just one example of McLane's mostly tone-deaf stewardship of the Astros, a run that's led to the bottoming-out of the club in 2010. I mean, really. Cecil Cooper as manager? Practically within minutes of Commissioner Bud Selig publicly suggesting it?

They've got the worst record in the NL. And their offense going into the weekend ranked last in, among other things, batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, runs scored, hits, home runs, doubles and total bases.

Against that backdrop, it's easy to see why Oswalt, 32, is throwing up his hands.

Problem is, in no small part because McLane allowed his emotions sway decisions, the Astros waited too long to deal Oswalt.

To get that big package of prospects in return that McLane no doubt will require now, the Astros should have dealt him well before he turned 32 ... or before they signed him to the monstrous five-year, $73 million deal they awarded him.

Which McLane bestowed upon him roughly a month after Oswalt's feelings were bruised at the '06 deadline when word leaked that the Astros had included him in trade discussions.

Fact is, even though Oswalt has started the season with nine consecutive quality starts (he's 2-6 with a 2.66 ERA), he's no longer a $15 million pitcher (his 2010 salary). And next year, he's not going to be a $16 million pitcher.

All told, if a team takes on Oswalt, they'll be responsible for roughly $25 million through 2011 (including a $2 million buyout clause for 2012). Unless you've got deep pockets (hello, Mets), that's far too much dinero for many clubs that can really use starting pitching now.

Texas? Forget it. Creditors are nipping at the franchise's heels.

The Dodgers? Forget it. The McCourts are preparing to tee it up in Divorce Court later this summer.

The Cubs? Memo to Drayton: Kid shortstop Starlin Castro isn't going anywhere.

Oswalt is not going to win that World Series ring in Houston, but at least he has that bulldozer McLane gave him as a reward for that memorable '05 postseason run.

Oh, and one other thing: Houston, by the way, did end up acquiring Tejada a little more than a year later, in December, 2007.

Which means they acquired him too late ... and now they face trying to trade Oswalt at the wrong time as well.

It's a game of timing, friends. And the Astros' is miserable.

Posted on: November 26, 2008 1:01 pm
 

Happy Thanksgiving, and here's to good causes

So what are you thankful for?

Loving family? Warm house?

Close friends?

Difficult to think of a better time than Thanksgiving Week for Nelson and Alisa Figueroa to hold an online auction of baseball memorabilia to help their friend Ricky Stone, the former big league relief pitcher who is battling a malignant brain tumor.

Stone was dealt a very tough break last summer when, after suffering an injury in Taiwan while playing in the Chinese Professional League, he returned to the United States and suffered a Grand Mal seizure. Subsequent tests revealed the brain tumor, and Stone now is in the fight of his life.

Looking to pitch in, Nelson Figueroa, who pitched for the New York Mets last year, his wife, Alisa, and Erin Pote, wife of former big leaguer Lou Pote, founded Rally for Recovery to raise funds for the Stone family.

They're not messing around, either. They've recruited more than 100 major leaguers to donate, and over here on eBay, you can help out (and perhaps do some early Christmas shopping?) by bidding on all sorts of items. Signed jerseys from Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz, a Yogi Berra autographed cap, an Adrian Beltre autographed bobble-head doll, the list goes on.

You can find signed items from 100 or so players, including Ichiro Suzuki, Johan Santana, Ken Griffey Jr., Jim Thome, Jeff Kent, Jose Reyes, Ryne Sandberg, John Smoltz, Brad Ausmus, Joe Nathan, Roy Oswalt and many others.

Most of the Yankee stuff was signed on Sept. 21, the day they played their final game in Yankee Stadium, and the jerseys include the last year of Yankee Stadium patches that were sewn on. The list of items continues for four pages, and if you're a baseball fan -- or, especially, a memorabilia collector -- it's worth a look and it's a good cause.

The Rally for Recovery auction started on Sunday, and will continue through Sunday evening, Nov. 30. Items are listed at http://stores.ebay.com/Rally-For-Re
covery-Baseball-Auction
in random order. The auction will end on Sunday evening, November 30, 2008.

Likes: Turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie. ... Happy Thanksgiving to all. Here's to a weekend of being surrounded by loving family members, close friends, good food, warm memories and bright futures. Whatever your Thanksgiving traditions are and however you celebrate, I hope it's wonderful. And I hope we all can take a few minutes during the day to pause and count our blessings during these scary economic times.

Dislikes: Tough end to a fantastic season for the Monroe (Mich.) St. Mary Catholic Central team in the Michigan high school football playoffs. My Falcons fell to Leslie 22-19 last weekend, but what an accomplishment, advancing all the way to the state semifinals in a season in which they started seven sophomores (eight before an injury).

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"As I was walking a ribbon of highway
"I saw above me an endless skyway
"I saw below me a golden valley
"This land was made for you and me"

-- Woody Guthrie, This Land is Your Land

Posted on: March 29, 2008 6:50 pm
 

Big game hunting on opening day

One of the most attractive opening day pitching matchups has Houston ace Roy Oswalt facing National League Cy Young winner Jake Peavy in San Diego on Monday night.

Well, it's one of the attractive matchups if you're not, say, a white-tailed deer.

The two pals have been pointing toward their opening day duel for months now, trash-talking their way through winter hunting trips and the joint purchase of more than 500 acres of hunting property in southwestern Illinois.

"Some of the best hunting land in the United States," Oswalt told me this spring.

Oswalt is from Weir, Mississippi; Peavy is a native of Mobile, Alabama. They live about two hours' drive-time apart.

Not only did they purchase the Illinois property over the winter, they also enjoyed a home-and-home series of hunting trips together.

Peavy and some of his friends traveled to Mississippi to hunt with Oswalt on the Houston pitcher's 3,000-acre property, and then Oswalt and some of his friends visited Peavy's hunting spread in Alabama.

Funny thing is, neither Oswalt (14-7 with a 3.18 last season) nor Peavy (19-6, 2.54) personally bagged anything on their joint hunting trips, according to the Houston pitcher. The group shot three deer on Oswalt's property and "two or three" on Peavy's property.

But that didn't stop the two buddies from carrying on with their running commentary on Monday's opener for the past several months.

"We've got a lot of bets going on," Oswalt told me, grinning, at the Astros' camp in Kissimmee, Fla., in February. "I can't say what we've got going on, but we've been talking a lot of trash on the phone."

When I saw Peavy in Peoria, Ariz., a few weeks later, last year's unanimous Cy Young winner wasn't spilling any beans regarding the side wagers, either.

"We're going to get after it on opening day," Peavy said. "And then we'll go to dinner when all is said and done."

Venison? He didn't say.


Category: MLB
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com