Carlos Ruiz says Roy Oswalt’s fastball “had no life” Thursday

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Roy Oswalt allowed three runs on seven hits during a rough seven-inning rehab start Thursday night for Single-A Clearwater then dipped out of the minor league clubhouse before chatting with reporters.

Why the rush? This tweet from Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer might explain it:

[Carlos] Ruiz said Oswalt’s fastball had no life for most of the start. Off by about 4 mph in general.

Gelb then spoke with a scout, who confirmed that Oswalt did not have his normal fastball velocity. The 33-year-old veteran regularly hits 93 MPH when he’s at his best, but was clocking in between 88-90 MPH on Thursday evening in Florida.

The Phillies were hoping to activate Oswalt from the disabled list in time for a Tuesday night matchup with the Cardinals, but the poor radar gun numbers could certainly lead to a reassessment of that plan.

Oswalt has been sidelined since the last week of April with lower back inflammation. He had a 3.33 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 21/7 K/BB ratio over his first five starts of the 2011 regular season.

Mariners to hire Tim Laker as their hitting coach

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Greg Johns of MLB.com reports that the Mariners plan to hire Tim Laker as their new hitting coach. He’ll replace Edgar Martinez, who has moved into a different role with the club.

Laker has spent the past spent the past two years as the Arizona Diamondbacks assistant hitting coach. Before that he was a coach and manager in the minor league systems of the Indians and White Sox. He, of course, also spent 11 seasons in the Majors as a catcher, playing for the Indians, Expos, Devil Rays, Pirates and Orioles.