Roy Oswalt: team player

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Roy Oswalt stunk up the joint starting for the Rangers, so they moved him to the bullpen. Texas needs the bullpen help and, in his first two outings as a reliever, Oswalt has been darn good, pitching three scoreless innings.

But yesterday, when Ron Washington wanted one more inning out of him, Oswalt said no, despite the fact that he hasn’t been worked particularly hard lately.  Evan Grant reports:

Manager Ron Washington was ready to send Oswalt back out for the ninth inning of what was then a tie game, but Oswalt declined … “He said he couldn’t go any further,” Washington said. “He said he had enough. To get anymore, you have to ask him.”

That, combined with Jon Daniels’ acknowledgment that Oswalt and/or his agent has voiced his displeasure with moving to the pen sure makes it sound like Oswalt is pouting.

When Oswalt held off signing with anyone at the beginning of the year and then went to Texas, he said that he wanted to be in the position to get a World Series ring. Now he’s with a team that stands a good chance of getting one, and he apparently doesn’t want to do what’s necessary to get that ring.

But hey, if starting is more important to him, I’m sure Houston would welcome him back.

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.