PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 17: Pitcher Roy Oswalt #44 of the Philadelphia Phillies looks on against the San Francisco Giants in Game Two of the NLCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Citizens Bank Park on October 17 2010 in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Roy Oswalt

Roy Oswalt Returning To Phillies Rotation On Tuesday

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11 Total Updates since April 27, 2011
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Roy Oswalt Activated; Vance Worley Demoted

The Phillies were expected to activate Roy Oswalt in time to make his start Tuesday, but the unanswered question was which pitcher on the roster would cede his spot. Rookie Vance Worley had won both of his starts, then pitched well in two relief appearances, while Scott Mathieson is a full-time reliever on the active roster who has pitched only one inning in the past week.

In the event, the Phillies have decided to give Worley regular work as a starter in Triple-A, sending him down rather than Mathieson. Still, it's worth wondering how much temptation there was to keep Worley up as a security blanket, as Joe Blanton's elbow was sore after his first start off the disabled list.

Oswalt has been out since April 26, first to be with his family after the devastating tornadoes in Mississippi, followed by a DL stint due to a recurrence of back problems that have bothered him for the past couple of seasons.

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Roy Oswalt Slated To Start For Phillies On Tuesday

For a couple of reasons, Phillies starter Roy Oswalt has been missing since the end of April. Not only did he take time away to be with his family after some area tornadoes; he was also placed on the disabled list with a back injury. But his family is just fine, and as far as the injury is concerned, it doesn't appear to be a factor anymore. Oswalt has had some successful throwing sessions on the mound and in the bullpen, and according to Ruben Amaro, he's going to return to the Phillies this week:

Roy Oswalt (back) threw a bullpen session Saturday in Clearwater and is set to start Tuesday in St. Louis. Who goes to the minors when he comes back? The obvious candidate is Vance Worley, but Amaro suggested he could stick.

The return of Oswalt will restore the Phillies' season-opening five-man rotation, now that Joe Blanton is back as well. And it's safe to say that the Phillies got along just fine without both of them; stopgaps Kyle Kendrick and Vance Worley combined to allow just one run over 17 innings in three starts. Yeah, that's fair.

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Roy Oswalt's Rehab Start Less Than Stellar, But Carlos Ruiz And Chase Utley Look Good

The good news is that Roy Oswalt made his rehab start with Class A Clearwater Thursday night, and struck out five Palm Beach Cardinals. That’s about the only good news, though. About Oswalt, anyway. Matt Gelb:

Oswalt, pitching competitively for the first time in 16 days, lacked zip on his fastball. Ruiz said it was a struggle for Oswalt early without life and location on the fastball. One scout concurred, saying Oswalt hovered between 88 and 90 m.p.h. on the radar gun, topping out at 92. He typically averages 93 m.p.h.

Oswalt said nothing. He left the ballpark before speaking to reporters.

“It was a struggle in the first couple of innings,” Ruiz said.

The Phillies were hoping to slot Oswalt right into the rotation on regular rest for Tuesday’s series finale against St. Louis. That may be unrealistic without his usual fastball.

It’s too early to know when and where Oswalt will pitch next. The fact that he didn’t stick around after the game to talk about his outing isn’t a great sign, but maybe he just had dinner reservations at one of Clearwater’s many outstanding eateries. Or maybe he was busy plotting his revenge against whoever invented those #%$& radar guns.

Anyway, there was other good news from Clearwater, too. Carlos Ruiz played without incident, and Chase Utley hit, ran, and fielded with aplomb. Ruiz is due back immediately, Utley’s on track, and if Oswalt can average 89 now he can probably average 93 before long.

Oh, and the Phillies are 24-12.

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Roy Oswalt Has Good Bullpen Session

Good news from Philadelphia Phillies right-hander Roy Oswalt, who told MLB.com's Todd Zolecki that his back felt great after a bullpen session today. The schedule for Oswalt remains the same, with a start in A-ball on Thursday, and if everything goes well, he'll rejoin the Phillies next Tuesday and start against the Cardinals.

The Phillies have had a tough time keeping their rotation intact this year, with Joe Blanton also missing time because of an injury. Kyle Kendrick and Vance Worley have stepped in to take the place of the two injured pitchers, and both have performed well.

The back injury is a little worrisome for Oswalt because he's had back problems before, including a bulging disc in his back that caused him to lose feeling in his legs. Yikes. But considering the problems he's had in the past, it's pretty impressive that Oswalt has made at least 30 starts in every season since 2003. With the injury and the tornadoes, though, that streak could be in jeopardy.

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Roy Oswalt To Throw Rehab Start Thursday

Philadelphia Phillies right-hander Roy Oswalt hasn't pitched since April 26, first leaving to help with tornado cleanup efforts in Mississippi, and then suffering a tweak to his back that landed him on the disabled list. Kyle Kendrick took his turn in the rotation last time, but there's hope that the Phillies will get Oswalt back soon. From David Hale of the Wilmington News Journal:

Oswalt will throw a rehab game thursday. Hope is he'll pitch tues in St Louis.

So it looks like one more start for Kendrick, who pitched quite well in his spot start last week.

Oswalt is the second member of the vaunted Phillies rotation to go on the disabled list, though Joe Blanton is sort of a big asterisk after the word "vaunted." Between Domonic Brown, Chase Utley, Blanton, and Oswalt, the Phillies haven't had a lot of injury luck this season, which makes it extra impressive that they've been able to enjoy such a quick start.

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Roy Oswalt Unlikely To Return From DL When Eligible

Just a few days ago, Phillies starter Roy Oswalt was to make his return to the mound, but he had to be scratched and replaced due to lingering back soreness. Oswalt was placed on the disabled list, retroactive to April 27, and while he's eligible to return this weekend for a series against the Braves, now it doesn't look like he'll be ready that soon. Marc Narducci:

Amaro said that Roy Oswalt, placed on the disabled list Friday with lower back inflammation, is progressing. He likely won't be able to pitch when he is eligible to be activated for Friday's game in Atlanta, the GM said. Oswalt threw a bullpen session on Sunday and will do so again on Tuesday, according to pitching coach Rich Dubee.

So Oswalt's coming along, but he's not quite ready yet, and the 22-11 first-place Phillies don't feel like rushing the 33-year-old pitcher with a history of physical maladies. Which is just fine, because they really don't need to. Still, with Oswalt and Joe Blanton both on the road to recovery, it shouldn't be long before the entire fearsome five-man rotation is restored.

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Roy Oswalt Will Miss Start, Might Go On DL

From MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki:

Kendrick will start Saturday. Oswalt could land on the DL. Back bothering him a bit.

To review … In Roy Oswalt’s last start, on the 26th of April, he lasted only three innings and gave up five runs. Immediately afterward, Oswalt left the Phillies without comment and headed to Mississippi to be with his family in the wake of the devastating tornadoes in the south. He was expected to miss just one start, and the Phillies went to a four-man rotation, with rookie Vance Worley standing in for DL’d Joe Blanton and nobody taking Oswalt’s spot.

That’s obviously changed, with Kyle Kendrick stepping into the large breach. The Phillies are fortunate to have both Worley and Kendrick, both of whom are good enough to start for a lot of teams. They’re also fortunate to have an exceptionally talented roster, and probably can withstand the loss of Oswalt for a short time.

What this points to, more than anything, is how overblown that talk was before the season, about the Phillies having three or four 20-game winners. Because some guys get unlucky, some guys get hurt, and some guys get both.

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Roy Oswalt To Miss One Start

Oswalt left the Phillies last Monday to be with his family and help with cleanup around the tornado-ravaged area around his home. At the time, the Phillies were hoping that Oswalt would miss only his Tuesday start before returning to the club. Oswalt will be gone a little longer, though. From David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News:

Roy Oswalt, currently helping with tornado clean-up at home in Mississippi, won't return to the Phillies until Thursday, meaning he will miss his scheduled start against the Nationals on Tuesday. General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Oswalt would likely be able to start a game on Saturday or Sunday. The way things set up now, it will almost have to be Saturday, since everybody else will be on short rest at that point in time.

With Oswalt's absence and Joe Blanton's injury, the Phillies will temporarily go with a four-man rotation, with Cole Hamels going on Tuesday and Vance Worley starting on Wednesday.

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Roy Oswalt Leaves Phillies After Tornadoes Strike Near Home

Earlier on Wednesday, we heard that Roy Oswalt had left the Phillies for personal reasons. There was some speculation that he was hurt, and there was other speculation that it was a family matter, and now general manager Ruben Amaro has confirmed that it is not the former, and more of the latter. From Jim Salisbury:

There has been a tremendous amount of tornado activity near Roy’s home in Mississippi resulting in several tragic deaths and significant devastation to the area. Because of this, Roy is concerned about his family’s well-being. He has chosen to take time to make sure there wasn’t significant damage to his home, but more importantly, to make certain that his wife and children are okay.

A year ago, the home of Oswalt's parents was destroyed by a tornado, so one can understand his elevated concern.

As for Oswalt's next scheduled start on Tuesday, the Phillies say they're taking things day-by-day, but also that they expect Oswalt to be back in time to pitch. Of course, in the event that Oswalt needs a little more time, the team probably isn't going to push it, given the sensitive circumstances.

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Oswalt's Departure Supposedly Not Injury-Related

Okay, maybe just a bit of speculation…

On April 15, Oswalt left his start after six innings, after straining his back while fielding a bunt. Six days later, he pitched his best game of the season, with six innings of one-hit ball against the Padres. So what happened Monday night? From MLB.com’s Barry Bloom:

“He was all right,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said when asked after that game if Oswalt was having any physical problems. “His stuff wasn’t good. His stuff wasn’t crisp. His velocity was down. I figured there was no sense leaving him out there.”

Any question about that back?

“Ah, no,” Manuel said. “He didn’t say anything about that.”

We should probably take everyone at their word. But Oswalt hasn’t thrown more than six innings in a game this season, and he’s topped 90 pitches just once. And Monday’s performance — three innings, zero strikeouts — suggests that maybe he was hurting last night. Or was distracted.

Or maybe it’s a complete coincidence, with no connection between a terrible outing and leaving his team before the clubhouse doors opened after the game.

We’ll know soon enough.

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Roy Oswalt Leaves Phillies For 'Personal Reasons'

Two tweets from Phillies beat writer Matt Gelb:

A Phillies official says Roy Oswalt has left the team for personal reasons. No expected return date.

Oswalt was not removed from the game for those personal reasons. He was taken out by Manuel because of his ineffectiveness.

Speculation at this point about "personal reasons" is obviously pointless.

If Oswalt isn't available for some time, the obvious candidate to replace him is Kyle Kendrick, who started 31 games for the Phillies last year. But Kendrick, in the bullpen this season, hasn't thrown more than 42 pitches in a game and probably couldn't be counted on for more than four or five innings in a spot start.

If the Phillies dip into their system, the best candidates at Triple-A are probably Eddie Bonine, who's got some experience in the majors and has pitched well this season, and 23-year-old Vance Worley, who's pitched exceptionally well this month and was ranked this winter by Baseball America as the Phillies' 11th-best prospect.

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