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.
Yankees’ special advisor and former outfielder Hideki Matsui expects to help the club “convince or recruit” Japanese two-way star Shohei Otani, according to a report from MLB.com’s Deesha Thosar. The Yankees are currently viewed as the favorites to sign Otani, though there still figures to be plenty of competition for his services when he finally becomes eligible to enter Major League Baseball.
Matsui also told Thosar that while he hasn’t seen a player find success as a hybrid pitcher/slugger in the majors, he’s taken notice of Otani’s success in both areas. “He’s done well in Japan, so as a baseball fan I’m looking forward to how he’s going to do here in the Majors and in the U.S.,” Matsui said, later adding, “If [pitching and hitting is] something he wants to do, and the team wants it, then why not?”
Neither the Yankees nor any other suitor should be too concerned with Otani’s ability to translate his .332 batting average and 3.20 ERA to MLB — at least, not just yet. There are still a few roadblocks in his path to the major leagues, most notably the lack of approval from the Players Association. Per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, the union doesn’t want to sign off on an agreement that would give the Nippon Ham Fighters a $20 million posting fee in exchange for Otani’s services. According to the posting system rules, Otani himself would be eligible to receive no more than a $4 million signing bonus.
The good news in all of this? The union agreed to reach a final decision by Monday, November 21, so there’s still a chance Major League Baseball will see the talented two-way player bring his unique skillset to the field in 2018.