UPDATE: David Hale of the Wilmington News Journal reports that Oswalt is confident he’ll be able to make his next start.
While it was initially announced that he left the game with a lower back strain, Oswalt told reporters that it’s mid-back spasms that aren’t related to his past back issue.
9:57 PM: According to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com, Roy Oswalt left tonight’s game against the Marlins after six innings with a lower back strain.
Oswalt suffered the injury while running to first base on a bunt in the bottom of the sixth inning. He went out to start the top of the seventh inning, but walked off the mound with a trainer before throwing a pitch. He allowed two runs over six innings while striking out six and walking one before leaving the game.
As Zolecki notes, Oswalt has dealt with a lower back issues in the past. The 33-year-old right-hander was shut down in September of 2009 due to lower back inflammation and required an injection in the area prior to the start of the 2010 season.
We’ve remained optimistic about the Phillies because the “Big Four” has managed to avoid the injury bug so far, but another lingering back issue for Oswalt could make things a little more interesting in the National League East.
The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.
Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.
Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.
As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.
Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.
Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.