Red Sox and Phillies maintaining contact with Roy Oswalt

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It’s pretty well-documented that Roy Oswalt would prefer to pitch for the Rangers or Cardinals in order to be closer to his home in Mississippi. However, since both clubs have full starting rotations, they have little reason to break the bank in order to sign him. This leaves Oswalt considering the alternatives.

With that in mind, Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com reports that the Red Sox, Reds and Phillies are among the teams who have remained in contact with the veteran right-hander.

While Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington told WEEI’s Alex Speier earlier this week that it’s “unlikely” they’ll add a starting pitcher prior to spring training, Morosi was told that the two sides continue to have “mutual interest” in one another. Oswalt is open to returning to Philadelphia, but the Phillies haven’t been aggressive adding rotation help this offseason. As for the Reds, they already have six candidates for their rotation and would likely have to move some salary in order to be a realistic possibility.

Assuming a deal with the Rangers or Cardinals doesn’t happen, the Red Sox look like the best match. Then again, Morosi doesn’t dismiss the possibility that new suitors could emerge in the coming days, especially if Oswalt ends up lowering his asking price. While Edwin Jackson signing with the Nationals earlier this week wasn’t a huge shocker because of the Scott Boras connection, it at least served as a reminder that things can change in a hurry.

Oswalt, 34, was limited to 23 starts last season due to a back condition, posting a 3.69 ERA and 93/33 K/BB ratio over 139 innings.

UPDATE, 7:46 PM: FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal says the Reds only “kicked the tires” and aren’t actively pursuing Oswalt.

Angel Hernandez made a great call on a tough play

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Fans, and even some writers, tend to jump on umpires when they make bad calls, but rarely if ever point out when they make good calls on tough plays. Angel Hernandez is one of those umpires who gets a lot of flack — and I may suggest even deservedly so — but in the interest of giving credit where credit is due, he made a great call on a very tough play during Thursday afternoon’s game between the Phillies and Marlins.

With a runner on first base and two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning with the Phillies leading 2-1, first baseman Brock Stassi laced an Edison Volquez pitch down the first base line. Michael Saunders, who was on first base, came around third base and attempted to score. The relay throw from second baseman Dee Gordon beat Saunders, but Saunders slid expertly to the back of home plate, avoiding the tag from catcher J.T. Realmuto just long enough to slip his hand in and touch the plate. Hernandez ruled Stassi safe with no hesitation because he was in a great position to get a look at the play. In real time, it was a bang-bang play. The Marlins didn’t challenge the call.

The MLB.com video doesn’t have the best angle, but still shows what a close call it was in real time. This .gif from Meghan Montemurro of The News Journal provides the best angle:

Hernandez also made this nonchalant grab when catcher Andrew Knapp tossed it attempting to catch a foul pop-up:

Yoenis Cespedes leaves game with pulled hamstring

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The Mets and Braves are playing today and it’s not a great day for the Mets in the injury department.

First they scratched Noah Syndergaard with a “tired arm.” Now they’ve lost Yoenis Cespedes, who pulled up limping at second base following a double in the bottom of the fourth:

The team has announced that he has pulled his left hamstring.

Cespedes, of course, missed three games over the weekend due to hamstring issues. That was merely tightness, however, and following an off day and a rainout, Cespedes played last night without incident. But it now looks as though he’s going to miss some serious time.