Paulino will start Tuesday if Oswalt can't go
Astros general manager Ed Wade said Saturday right-hander Felipe Paulino would start Tuesday against the Giants if Roy Oswalt can’t pitch. Oswalt, who has been bothered with a lower left back strain, will likely be placed on the 15-day disabled list of he can’t start Tuesday.
Paulino was scheduled to start Saturday at Triple-A Round Rock, but he was scratched in anticipation of perhaps throwing Tuesday. Paulino, who is 2-5 with a 7.04 ERA for the Astros this year, is 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA in five starts at Round Rock.
“He’s going to do a bullpen up there and just be on hold,” Wade said. “If we get word back from Roy on Monday he’s not going to be able to make the start on Tuesday, that probably puts us in a position of having to put him on the disabled list.”
Oswalt would miss only two starts if he’s on the disabled list. He threw 50 pitches off flat ground Saturday in St. Louis and said he felt “20 to 30 percent” better than he did after throwing lightly Friday at 50 percent effort. He threw at 75 percent effort Saturday.
Oswalt said he will get a better idea if he’s going to make the start when he pitches off the mound either Sunday or Monday.
“Throwing off flat ground is great and all, but the biggest test will be when I get on the mound,” Oswalt said. “About the only time you’re 100 percent is in the off-season, so if I get back to 90 percent I’ll be in good shape. The biggest thing is trusting it when you get out there. You don’t want to get in a situation in a game where you’re not going all out and you lose a ballgame. If I think I can get out there and get outs, I can get out there.”
Yorman Bazardo (9-5, 2.98 ERA) has been Round Rock’s top starter this year, but he’s out of options. If the Astros brought him up to make a spot start, he would have to clear waivers to make it back to Round Rock.
“From a logistical standpoint, Paulino was the obvious choice at this stage,” Wade said. “Bazardo was a consideration, but from a roster standpoint he has no options remaining, and if we were to bring Yorman up at that point in time we’re pretty much locked into keeping him. That creates a domino effect when Oswalt comes off the DL and [LaTroy] Hawkins comes off the DL. So we had to sort of look at it in the short term and long term.
“Short term because we may need to cover two starts and long term if you cover with a guy like Bazardo it could impact the structure of the pitching staff and put him in position we have to put him on waivers to get him back down. Every little roster move has ramifications, and we need to try to think these things through.”