We’re less than 10 days away from pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training, yet Roy Oswalt is still looking for a home. We were bombarded with rumors of a potential deal with the Cardinals two weeks ago, but things have been relatively quiet recently.
The general assumption has been that Oswalt would prefer to sign with either the Cardinals or Rangers in order to be closer to Mississippi home and Missouri farmland, but Jayson Stark said yesterday on ESPN’s Baseball Tonight that the veteran right-hander won’t be joining Texas. The Phillies have kept tabs on the situation recently, but Stark also ruled them out as an option.
“He wanted to go to Texas. That’s not gonna happen. He wanted to go back to Philadelphia. That’s not gonna happen. He had some interest in the Reds. That doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen. So his choices still come down to, I think, going to Boston, where they have a clear need but he doesn’t seem to want to play, and going to St. Louis, where all his friends say he would love to be. But to do that, he has to do it on their terms.”
So it’s likely down to the Cardinals or Red Sox. And maybe, just maybe, the Reds, though general manager Walt Jocketty insisted this week that he hasn’t had any contact with the player.
Nothing went right for the Blue Jays this weekend. The club was swept in a four-game series against the Athletics, including a 9-2 loss on Sunday. Not wanting to burn out his bullpen in a lopsided game — and perhaps thinking about the general entertainment value involved — Blue Jays manager John Gibbons decided to send designated hitter Kendrys Morales out to pitch the ninth inning. And in typical baseball fashion, he saw better results than some of the dudes who do this all the time.
Morales, who actually pitched in Cuba nearly 20 years ago, worked around a walk for a scoreless inning. He induced three fly outs and topped out at 87.4 mph on his fastball, per Brooks Baseball. He received a standing ovation on the way back to the dugout. Morales hasn’t been hearing that sort of thing for his contributions with the bat recently.
Morales, 34, is batting just .163/.248/.279 with three home runs through 32 games this season. There’s been some understandable clamoring for top prospect Vladmir Guerrero, Jr. to cut into his at-bats. For his part, Morales has been doing everything he can to break out of his slumber at the plate, including ditching the glasses he started wearing during spring training. Hey, whatever works. Morales also had two of Toronto’s four hits on Sunday.
On the heels of Morales’ first MLB appearance on the mound, it feels rather appropriate that the Blue Jays will get their first look at Angels sensation Shohei Ohtani — at least as a hitter — beginning on Tuesday.