The latest on Oswalt

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There have been various updates and added wrinkles to the Roy Oswalt news since this morning. The highlights:

  • Derrick Goold reports that the Cardinals are the Astros’ first choice. This squares with what I was hearing last night. Past of it is geographic (Oswalt owns a farm in Illinois and it isn’t terrible far from his Mississippi home).  Part of it is clubhouse culture. Part of it is that Oswalt believes that the Cardinals represent is best chance to win a championship.
  • Heyman says that the Cardinals want the Astros to take on a good chunk of the money still owed Oswalt. I’m sure that’s what they want — who wouldn’t — but I have to think that at some point the Astros would think that, hell, if they’re paying for the guy they may as well get 200 quality innings out of the guy a year too, so why bother?
  • Brad Lidge volunteered that he would gladly call Oswalt in an effort to sell him on coming to Philly instead.  This is rather interesting. On the one hand, given all of the strife Lidge has gone through in Philly these past two seasons, if he can still endorse the city and the club to Oswalt, it speaks highly of the place and maybe Oswalt should listen. On the other hand, the more Lidge reminds Oswalt that Lidge will be responsible for closing out Oswalt’s starts, the less attractive such a prospect becomes, no?
  • Jayson Stark of ESPN.com reports that the Cardinals have offered two players from their major league roster for the Astros ace.  In other words, not top pitching prospect Shelby Miller.  Jon Jay, Allen Craig and Fernando Salas are among the likely suspects.

It’s all pretty quiet on the non-Oswalt trade rumor front today, so look for more updates to this one as events warrant.

Dallas Keuchel to return to Astros’ rotation on Friday

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Astros manager A.J. Hinch told the media, including MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart, that starter Dallas Keuchel will come off of the disabled list and rejoin the rotation on Friday against the Tigers. Keuchel has missed nearly two months with a neck injury.

Prior to landing on the DL, Keuchel was 9-0 with a 1.67 ERA and a 69/18 K/BB ratio over 75 2/3 innings. He seemed to be on his way to potentially win another Cy Young Award.

Hinch also noted that Collin McHugh will start on Saturday and Lance McCullers will start on Sunday.

Video: Ketel Marte hits an inside-the-park home run

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Braves starter Aaron Blair had a nightmarish bottom of the third inning on Wednesday afternoon against the Diamondbacks. He had just given up a run on a Daniel Descalso triple hit to center field that center fielder Ender Inciarte read poorly. In the following at-bat, Ketel Marte laced a curve ball to right field. Sean Rodriguez wasn’t able to get to it in time, so the ball bounced off the fence and caromed back towards the stands along the right field line. By the time Rodriguez was able to retrieve the ball, Marte was already on his way home and scored standing up.

The inside-the-park homer will certainly provide a boost to Marte’s stats. He entered Wednesday’s action batting .196/.255/.370 in 51 plate appearances.