Roy Oswalt held a conference call with Rangers reporters today and said he expects to be ready to join the rotation after just four minor-league starts, the first of which is scheduled for Saturday at Triple-A.
While deciding which team to sign with Oswalt was throwing regularly at his home in Mississippi and feels stretched out enough for 85 pitches, but he’ll start off slow with 50-60 pitches in his first outing.
Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star Telegram charted out Oswalt’s expected timetable and, if things go according to the 34-year-old right-hander’s plan, he’d be ready to step into the Rangers’ rotation during an interleague series versus the Rockies that begins on June 22.
Assuming he stays healthy and his recurring back problems aren’t an issue that would leave time for Oswalt to make approximately 17-18 starts, for which he’ll be paid $5 million and can earn an additional $1 million in incentives.
Bryce Harper, who said he was tired after taking his cuts in the first round, certainly appeared gassed in the final round. So, too, did his dad, who was throwing to him. But Harper caught fire, going on a tear and tying Kyle Schwarber with 18 home runs before time expired in the final round of the 2018 Home Run Derby. Harper unlocked 30 seconds of bonus time by hitting two home runs at least 440 feet. With his second swing in bonus time, Harper homered to straightaway center field for No. 19. He tossed his bat in celebration, grabbed his trophy, then gave it to his dad before he was mobbed on the field by his All-Star teammates.
Harper hit 13 home runs in the first round, eliminating Freddie Freeman and advancing to the semifinals. In the semis, Harper topped Max Muncy 13-12 to advance to the finals. On Schwarber’s side of the bracket, he bested Alex Bregman 16-15, then defeated Rhys Hoskins 21-20.
Harper is the first member of the Nationals (or Expos) to win the Home Run Derby. Harper participated in the 2013 Derby but finished in second place behind Yoenis Céspedes. Harper is also the first left-handed hitter to win the Derby since Prince Fielder in 2012. The only players to win the Derby in their home park are Todd Frazier in 2015 and Ryne Sandberg in 1990.
As a spectator, the 2018 Home Run Derby was tons of fun. The four-minute clock adds a lot of tension and intrigue even to the initial rounds. Seeing teammates cheer and get excited for their teammates in the Derby is really fun. Of course, watching dinger after dinger is cool, too. Can’t wait for next year.