Agent: Roy Oswalt “is definitely not retiring”

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Roy Oswalt has talked about an early retirement in the past, but yesterday agent Bob Garber told Todd Zolecki of MLB.com that the 34-year-old right-hander is no longer thinking about calling it quits:

There’s been a rebirth. There’s been talk in the past about retiring, but that’s not even in the cards at this point. It’s a different Roy. It’s a different feeling for him right now. He’s enjoying the game right now like he used to when he was younger. He’s definitely not retiring.

This has arguably been the worst season of Oswalt’s career, as he’s thrown just 133 innings after logging at least 180 every year since 2004 and has a 3.86 ERA that’s his second-highest. On the other hand, Zolecki notes that Oswalt “is feeling healthy after an ailing back sidelined him” and “has been rejuvenated pitching for the first-place Phillies.”

He’ll be Philadelphia’s fourth starter during the playoffs, which means his role may be minimal, and Zolecki expects the Phillies to decline their $16 million option on Oswalt for 2012. Since coming to the Phillies in the middle of last season Oswalt has thrown 216 innings with a 3.05 ERA and 162/53 K/BB ratio, so when the back isn’t barking he’s still a top-of-the-rotation starter.

Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Madson are also impending free agents, so Oswalt’s desire to remain in Philadelphia may be tested if he’s looking for a big payday.

Must-Click Link: “Skunk in the Outfield”

Associated Press
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Sam Miller of ESPN has an amazingly fantastic story today. It’s about a high school tournament baseball game in Rhode Island in 2006. It’s not your typical game story or oral history or look-to-the-past-to-see-the-future kind of thing. The only nod to such conventionality is mention of the fact that former Red Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland played in the game. That’s mostly a footnote.

No, the article is about a trick play — “skunk in the outfield” — concocted by one of the coaches. About how it played out and what went into it before, during and after it happened. Along the way Miller talks about the nature of trick plays and offers a good three dozen amazing insights into the psychology of young baseball players and the strategy of baseball as it unfolds in real time.

Each of these observations could anchor its own story but here they form a grand mosaic. And that’s only mild hyperbole, if in fact it’s hyperbole at all. Indeed, most treatments of such a play would be some video clip with a “wow, look what happened here!” sort of couching. Miller gives a more than ten-year-old trick play an epic treatment that is every bit as enlightening as it is entertaining.

Set some time aside to read this today.

Rubby De La Rosa to undergo a second Tommy John Surgery

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This is unfortunate: Diamondbacks reliever Rubby De La Rosa will undergo Tommy John surgery. This will be the second Tommy John procedure of his career, the first coming back in 2011.

De La Rosa has had elbow  issues for his entire career. Last year his UCL was barking again and he underwent stem cell therapy to try to avoid a second surgery, but it obviously hasn’t worked out. He’s pitched in only nine games this year, allowing four earned runs in seven and two-thirds innings, striking out 12.

I first saw De La Rosa in spring training in 2011. I thought his stuff was pretty phenomenal and figured he’d be a good one. Great stuff is often a function of heavy strain on an elbow, however, and pitchers breaking is, unfortunately, the rule in baseball far more than the exception.

He’ll miss a year at least. We likely won’t see him until spring of 2019, most likely on a minor league deal.