Phils, Cards the focus in Oswalt talks; Towles, Steele suffer setbacks
Not a whole lot new to report Thursday night, so I’ll keep it simple.
The Astros are continuing to have lots of discussions with several clubs, though nothing of substance. They continue to have dialogue about Roy Oswalt, who has requested to be traded. Every team in contention has kicked the tires on Oswalt, but as MLB.com accurately reported Wednesday the focus at this point is on the Philadelphia Phillies and St. Louis Cardinals in the bid for Oswalt’s services.
Meanwhile, Oswalt is focusing on breaking Joe Niekro’s record while addressing trade speculation. He starts against the Reds on Saturday in an effort to try to tie Joe Niekro’s franchise record of 144 wins. Oswalt is 23-2 all-time against the Reds.
J.R. Towles, who began the season as the Astros starting catcher before he was sent down to Double-A Corpus Christi, will have his broken right thumb examined by team physician Dr. Tom Mehlhoff on Friday in Houston. He broke it during a head-first slide on May 13 and it’s not progressing the way the team had hoped.
“He’s still having some soreness and pain and discomfort in his hand and we had to back him off,” said Astros assistant general manager Ricky Bennett, who is in Corpus Christi watching the Hooks.
Bennett also said speedy outfielder T.J. Steele, a fourth-round pick in 2008 who had a nice season in 2009, could be lost for the rest of the year. Steele was hitting .228 with two homers and 18 RBIs in 241 at-bats for Double-A Corpus Christi before he suffered a bone bruise in his left hand while swinging the bat. He’s been out since July 5.
Steele had an MRI in Corpus Christi on Wednesday.
“His wrist issue hasn’t been resolving and he’s got some tendinitis or something else going and there is a possibility he won’t play for the rest of this season at this point,” Bennett said.