Roy Oswalt almost rotation-ready for Rangers

Posted Monday, Jun. 18, 2012  comments  Print Reprints
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SAN DIEGO -- The next time Roy Oswalt throws a pitch very well could be this weekend in a Texas Rangers uniform.

Then again, he could find himself making one more start for either Triple A Round Rock or Double A Frisco.

But the reports after his start Sunday in Round Rock were encouraging enough to make him a viable candidate for the Rangers' rotation after their three-game series at San Diego, which opened Monday with a late game at Petco Park.

The Rangers aren't divulging their plans for their upcoming 10-game homestand, nor have they made the final call, but Oswalt isn't far away from joining them.

"We haven't made a formal decision yet," general manager Jon Daniels said. "At this point, we feel like physically he's ready, as ready as he's going to be. We feel like he's at the point where if this we spring training, we'd be like, 'Hey, he's ready to start the year.'

"We've just got to talk it over, kind of look at the schedule, look at the club and the rotation, and make a decision on when he's going to come."

Part of the Oswalt decision involves the bullpen, and how much Scott Feldman is needed as a reliever. Feldman has lost all five of his starts since taking over for Neftali Feliz last month, and the Rangers will work this series with a six-man bullpen.

Two of the relievers are Tanner Scheppers and Michael Kirkman, who had been at Triple A until injuries to Derek Holland and Koji Uehara. Scheppers and Kirkman are options only when the Rangers are behind in games or winning by a wide margin.

The Rangers could start Oswalt on Friday against Colorado, Matt Harrison on Saturday on normal rest, and Colby Lewis on Sunday on six days' rest. Justin Grimm, who won his major league debut Saturday, could work the opener against Detroit on Monday and be followed by Yu Darvish and Oswalt.

Feldman, who is starting tonight, could be ready for relief work by Friday, but manager Ron Washington said that keeping the current rotation intact for one more turn is also a possibility.

"I reserve the right to change my mind," Washington said.

Pitching coach Mike Maddux said that he would prefer to see Oswalt throw a bullpen session before he joins the rotation, but called that opportunity a luxury and not a necessity.

Oswalt, 34, threw 100 pitches over six innings Sunday and allowed two runs against Oklahoma City. But he commanded all of his pitches, including his breaking ball for the first time since returning to live action, and wasn't laboring when he threw his final pitch.

Oswalt, who agreed to a prorated one-year deal May 29, is 1-1 with a 5.87 ERA in four minor league starts, three in Triple A.

"His breaking ball is back, and we know he's got a changeup and we know he's got a fastball," Washington said. "We've got a decision to make. We haven't made it yet."

Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @JeffWilson_FWST

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