Link-O-Rama: Oswalt hoping to make Tuesday start despite back spasms

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* Roy Oswalt complained of back spasms after getting rocked for six runs on 10 hits in two innings last week, but remains on track to make his scheduled Tuesday start.
“He’s going to go on Tuesday,” manager Cecil Cooper said. “We’ll have a backup plan, but that’s the day he’s going to go.” Oswalt posted the worst ERA of his career last season at 3.54 and through 176.1 innings this year’s mark is 4.03.
* Padres prospect Cory Luebke took a no-hitter into the eighth inning yesterday as the United States defeated Canada in the second round of the World Cup.
* Chico Harlan of the Washington Post recently caught up with Dmitri Young, who has basically made $5 million to do absolutely nothing this season and has enjoyed every minute of it.
* James Shields, after the Rays dropped their 11th straight game: “It’s embarrassing. It is. It’s embarrassing. Eleven straight losses are embarrassing. It’s not fun right now. We’ve got to play better baseball from here on out. I don’t care if we’re in the race or not. We’ve got to at least end our season on a high note.”

Masahiro Tanaka to throw off a mound this weekend

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Earlier this month Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka strained both of his hamstrings while running the bases in an interleague game against the Mets and was sent to the 10-day DL. Today it was announced that the beginning of the end of most DL stints for pitchers — throwing off of a mound — is in Tanaka’s immediate future.

Tanaka is scheduled to throw off a mound Sunday, which will be his first real (well, fake real) pitching action since the June 9th injury. Assuming the session goes well, Tanaka is expected to return to the Yankees’ starting rotation sometime in early-to-mid July. With the All-Star break coming the week of July 16, it would not be hard to imagine the Yankees giving him a few extra days to get right.

Tanaka is 7-2 with a 4.58 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 73/19 in 72.2 innings on the season.