Oswalt to debut for Rangers on Friday
SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Roy Oswalt will return to a major league mound Friday night in Texas, familiar ground for the veteran right-hander who started his career in Houston 11 years ago.
The 34-year-old Oswalt will make his debut for the Rangers at home against the Colorado Rockies after starting four minor league games since signing with Texas on May 29.
Oswalt's last major league appearance was with Philadelphia in a Game 4 loss to St. Louis in the NL Division Series. He allowed five earned runs in six innings. He threw six shutout innings against Atlanta in his last regular season appearance last Sept. 27.
Oswalt said Wednesday he didn't have as much soreness as he expected after his last minor league start, when he threw 100 pitches and allowed six hits and two runs in six innings Sunday for Triple-A Round Rock. He said he was regaining command of his curveball.
The Rangers figured it would be at least a month before Oswalt could pitch in a big league game after he went unsigned through free agency and the first two months of the regular season. But his first start will come just 20 days after his first minor league appearance.
"I think I'm ready as far as arm strength. Body's doing great," said Oswalt, who was 1-1 with a 5.87 ERA in the four minor league starts.
"He brings big-time experience," manager Ron Washington said. "He's healthy and he's throwing the ball well. That's why we signed him. He can help anchor our young pitching staff with Colby Lewis. We're looking for him to come here and help us win some ballgames."
In his major league career with Houston (2001-10) and Philadelphia (2010-11), Oswalt has a 159-93 record with a 3.21 ERA in 339 career games. He had two stints on the disabled list last season because of lower back inflammation, but the Rangers haven't been concerned about that since Oswalt's back doctor also has worked with the team.
Oswalt went 9-10 with a 3.69 ERA in 23 starts for the Phillies last season, the 139 innings pitched his fewest since 2003. But he said Wednesday he felt as good as he did in 2010, when he went 7-1 with the Phillies after a midseason trade from the Astros.
"I'm still the same pitcher," Oswalt said. "I didn't all of a sudden go out and become a different person. I'm still the same guy that's been in Houston for nine and a half years and Philly for two more."
His first start for Texas will be an interleague game against a familiar NL opponent at hitter-friendly Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, where he is 2-5 with a 4.78 ERA.
"I've never really been in a friendly pitchers' park," he said. "Wouldn't know how to act."
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