Roy Oswalt got knocked around by the Diamondbacks last night and didn’t stick around after the game to talk to the media about it. Matt Gelb of the Philly Inquirer reports that Ruben Amaro was meeting with Charlie Manuel just as the reporters arrived and that earlier he had “huddled with a team official” during the game in, I presume, a manner that was unusual or else it wouldn’t have been mentioned by Gelb.
The question: did Roy Oswalt simply have a bad night or is his back acting up again?
Charlie Manuel said he was “concerned” about Oswalt’s ineffectiveness yesterday, but both he and catcher Brian Schneider said that Oswalt made no complaints of any physical problems. He had back spasms earlier this month. Last week pitching coach Rich Dubee said that he didn’t think Oswalt was 100% recovered, but of course he pitched a fine game against the Padres on Thursday.
For all of the injuries the Phillies have had so far this year, none of them — in my view anyway — can keep them from winning the NL East. If something happens to the rotation, however, all bets are off. Here’s hoping Oswalt just had a bad night.
Kurt Suzuki will wear a Braves’ uniform through the 2018 season after signing a one-year, $3.5 million extension with the club on Saturday, per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. Rosenthal adds that the two had been in talks for weeks and Suzuki made it clear that he wanted to remain in Atlanta for the foreseeable future. The team has yet to announce the extension.
Suzuki, 33, initially signed a one-year contract with the Braves back in January. The veteran backstop stepped into a backup role behind starting catcher Tyler Flowers, but still found a way to impress at the plate with a .271/.343/.525 batting line, career-best 18 home runs and an .868 OPS through 287 PA. According to FanGraphs, Suzuki’s 2.2 fWAR makes 2017 his most valuable season since his run with the 2009 Athletics.
It’s a prudent move for the Braves, who would have lost one of their most dynamic second-half hitters to the free agent market this offseason. Entering Saturday, Suzuki is second only to Freddie Freeman with 11 homers and 1.4 fWAR since the All-Star break. His stunning comeback also confirmed the team’s decision to look outside the organization for a backup catcher, rather than turning to fellow veteran Anthony Recker behind the plate.
“On a personal level, this season exceeded my expectations,” Suzuki told reporters on Wednesday. “It’s just one of those things I can’t explain. I put a lot of work in and really didn’t have a job until late January. I got an opportunity here and took advantage of it. It was definitely a good fit.”
Tigers’ outfielder Mikie Mahtook is unlikely to play again this season, club manager Brad Ausmus announced Saturday. Mahtook was diagnosed with a Grade 2 left groin strain following Friday’s series opener against the Twins, when he appeared to injure himself after chasing down Byron Buxton‘s two-RBI double in the fourth.
This is the second time Mahtook has sustained a groin injury over the past month. The 27-year-old exited Friday’s game with a .276/.330/.457 batting line, 12 home runs and a .787 OPS through 379 plate appearances with the team.
With the Tigers out of contention, there’s no reason to trot out Mahtook for the remaining eight games of the regular season. The club has yet to specify a timetable for his return, but there’s no reason to believe he won’t be in fine shape to compete for a starting role next spring.