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.

Blue Jays clinch playoff berth with Orioles’ loss to Red Sox

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TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.

Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.

If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.

“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”

Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.

The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.

Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.