Results tagged ‘ Roy Oswalt ’

Oswalt gets injection

Astros right-hander Roy Oswalt received an injection into his back Monday in Houston and is on scheduled to pitch Wednesday and is on pace for Opening Day. Oswalt flew to Houston to be examined by back specialist Dr. Michael McCann after leaving his previous start with a tight left hamstring.

Oswalt has been dealing with a bulging disk in his back since 2007. The disk is pushing against a nerve that descends down Oswalt’s left leg and last year was causing hip pain and loss of feeling in his left leg. Last year, McCann recommended Oswalt try to strengthen his core to help his back because surgery wasn’t a viable option.

Saturday morning Astros update: Oswalt feels fine

The Astros finally got some good news on the injury front Saturday when center fielder Michael Bourn returned to the lineup after missing a week with a strained oblique muscle. Bourn, who batted lead-off, said he was completely over the injury and didn’t expect it to be a problem.

Elsewhere on the injury front, both Brett Myers and Roy Oswalt said they were fine and as of now they’re still expected to make their next starts. Oswalt will be examined in Houston on Monday after leaving Friday’s game with a strained left hamstring. Myers left Thursday’s game with a strained left groin, but should make his next start Tuesday.

“No problems, guys,” Oswalt told reporters Saturday morning.

Jason Bourgeois (hamstring) isn’t scheduled to return this week, and shortstop Tommy Manzella (strained quadriceps) could be close to playing in a Minor League game, he said. Also, catcher J.R. Towles is nursing a strained left hamstring and right-hander Yorman Bazardo had an MRI on his shoulder Saturday morning. 

“Everybody’s improving,” manager Brad Mills said. “We’re more concerned about Tommy’s lateral movement. On quick bursts, he still feels it. He’s able to hit and take some ground balls, but any sharp, quick movements [are an issue] and he’s going to need that.

“We’re going to extend him a couple of days until he feels like he’s able to do that. His pain level is much better. It’s s step in the right direction, but we’re waiting. Same way with Jason. He still feels it. We’re not even able to get them some at-bats in the Minor League facility.”


When Oswalt and Myers return to action, Mills said he didn’t expect to try to use a designated hitter to protect them from running the bases and aggravating their injuries. But they might have to use the DH to get more at-bats for Manzella, Towles and Bourgeois.

“We have talked about that,” he said. “As of right now, we’re not planning to use the DH. A lot of that is going to have to depend on Tommy Manzella and J.R. Towles and Jason Bourgeois. We might have to give those guys some at-bats at designated hitter, so that becomes more of an issue.

“The situation of [pitchers] hitting and running the bases is more we’d like to see them put some bunts down and be able to move runners. I’m not concerned about how they run to first base or the bases or whatever. They’re smart enough to know they can’t really let it go swinging the bat and let it go running as well. It’s going to come down to those three guys and injuries more than anything else.”

Day 35: Injuries mount in final week of camp

Remember how we all joked about Camp Quiet? That was in February, when one of the coldest winters in Florida history forced everyone to wear jackets for workouts. That was back when the Astros weren’t making any news, except for mild ankle sprains by Casey Daigle and Jeff Fulchino.

Things sure have changed.

Lance Berkman, Brett Myers, Roy Oswalt, Michael Bourn, Tommy Manzella, Jason Bourgeois, Alberto Arias and Yorman Bazardo have all gone down with injuries. Suddenly, Kaz Matsui is the healthiest guy on the team. Most of the injuries are strains and not serious, though Arias could be headed for the DL and Berkman had minor knee surgery.

Oswalt joined the M*A*S*H unit Friday when he left his start against the Pirates after four innings with a mild left hamstring strain. Oswalt isn’t concerned, but GM Ed Wade showed enough concern to send Oswalt to Houston to be examined.

The Astros did have some good news Friday, rallying for four runs in the eighth and two in the ninth to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-4. Chris Johnson’s two-out, two-run walk-off home run that struck the batters eye in center field a few feet from the top, won the game.

Here’s the breakdown:

The good: Before his hamstring started to bother him, Oswalt looked terrific. He retired 10 of the first 11 batters he faced, striking out six batters in that span. He threw 60 pitches (41 strikes) and gave up three hits and one run in four innings. Brandon Lyon threw one scoreless innings and appears to have put his shoulder troubles in the past.

How about Drew Locke and T.J. Steele? These two guys continue to impress with how they’re swinging the bat in Grapefruit League play when they’re pulled over from Minor League camp. Steele started in center field and went 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI, and Locke had a three-run triple in the eighth inning in his only at-bat.

Johnson and non-roster first baseman Chris Shelton are making things interesting. Johnson, who has been pretty much pegged for Triple-A Round Rock since the spring started, is hitting .326 and leads the team with five homers and is second with 14 RBIs.

“I’ve got to remember, though, it’s just spring,” he said. “These don’t count yet.”

When asked if he feels he has opened some eyes, he said: “We’ve got a new group of guys coming in and a whole new coaching staff, and that’s all I’m trying to do is show them what I can do if they’ve never seen me play before.”

Shelton, whose double in the ninth set up Johnson’s homer, is hitting .333 with two homers and 11 RBIs in 36 at-bats. He could be making a push to make the team, considering Berkman could begin the year on the DL and they could carry an extra infielder by going with a four-man rotation.

Competition at the end of camp is a good thing.

“That’s the way you want to do it,” Mills said. “You hope you have to make those types of decisions. You hope they come down to the end like this, and that’s exactly what’s happened.”

The not-so-good: The only regulars the Astros had in the starting lineup Friday were third baseman Pedro Feliz and left fielder Carlos Lee, so perhaps that helps explain why Pirates starter Zach Duke shut them out on two hits for 6 2/3 innings. When the benches emptied in the eighth, the bats came alive.

Bud Norris, who was originally scheduled to pitch in a Minor League game, followed Oswalt and Lyon and threw four innings, giving up four hits and three earned runs. Norris struggled in the ninth against some Pirates hitters that aren’t going to make the team, but Mills was glad he was able to get up and down four times after missing a start with the flu.

What did Norris take from the 58-pitch outing?

“It was a whirlwind because I thought I was on the Minor League side, but I’m glad [pitching coach Brad Arnsberg] moved it around so I could pitch out there,” he said. “I felt good, my body felt good and arm felt good, and I’m glad I pitched as long as I did. I had only had 7 1/3 innings coming in and that was the biggest part. I completely understood the reason for it and I’m glad they go me out there.”

What they said: “This late in camp, there’s always concern, no doubt about it. The one positive on that note is he wanted to go back out. He said he felt the strain in his left hamstring. He’s concerned about it, but he’s not so scared that he wasn’t willing to go out there and pitch.” – Mills on the health of Oswalt.

What’s next: Left-hander Wandy Rodriguez will make his penultimate start of the spring when he faces the Tampa Bay Rays at 12:05 p.m. CT on Saturday at Osceola County Stadium. Rodriguez, who threw 90 pitches in his previous start Monday, has gotten knocked around this spring. He’s given up 20 hits and 16 earned runs in 13 innings in his four starts. Matt Lindstrom, Jeff Fulchino, Tim Byrdak and Yorman Bazardo are also scheduled to pitch.

Astro-notes: Michael Bourn, who’s been out a week with a strained oblique, went 1-for-4 with a stolen base in a Minor League game Friday and said he’s ready to return to action. Mills said Bourn could be in the lineup Saturday against the Tampa Bay Rays. … The Astros trimmed their roster to 38 players on Friday, optioning left-handed pitcher Wesley Wright to Triple-A Round Rock and reassigning right-hander Shane Loux and infielder Oswaldo Navarro to Minor League camp.

Oswalt heading to Houston to have hamstring checked

Astros general manager Ed Wade said Friday ace right-hander Roy Oswalt will head to Houston to have his left hamstring examined by team medical director Dr. David Lintner. Oswalt left Friday’s game against Pittsburgh after four innings with a hamstring strain.

“Sunday’s rainout after he left the mound after the rain delay he went in the cage and felt a tug in his glut, and since it’s the same leg and had two things now occur, we’re going to get him to Houston and let Dr. Lintner look at him,” Wade said.

Mills sets rotation for first 3 Spring games

Astros manager Brad Mills revealed the first three starting pitchers for the Grapefruit League season, which begins Thursday against Washington in Kissimmee, Fla.

Right-hander Brett Myers will start the opener Thursday, followed by left-hander Wandy Rodriguez against the Detroit Tigers in Lakeland, Fla., and Roy Oswalt on Saturday against the Atlanta Braves in Kissimmee. Houston will use six starters this spring, with Bud Norris, Brian Moehler and Felipe Paulino getting the other starts.

“We’re going to have some guys piggyback and switch back and forth as we go along,” Mills said. “That’s where we are right now the first three days.”

The Astros will play an intrasquad game Wednesday and will use 14 pitchers – seven pitchers on each team throwing one inning. Third base-coach Dave Clark will manage one side against first-base coach Bobby Meacham.

Mills said he will be able to get other pitchers – Wesley Wright, Yorman Bazardo, for example — some starts because of the three split-squad games the club has and a “B” squad game on Thursday.

Day 2: Arnsberg winning over pitchers early

Astros pitching coach Brad Arnsberg, who joined the staff after serving the same position in Toronto the previous five years, could probably convince his pitchers to throw under-handed by the time this camp is over. He’s energetic and passionate about his job. And Arnsberg has lots of work to do to retool a pitching staff that boasted some of the worst numbers in the Majors last year.

Arnsberg met at length Sunday morning with starters Roy Oswalt and Brett Myers. The meeting lasted about 45 minutes, and Arnsberg said he covered a variety of topics.

“It was Baseball 101,” Arnsberg said. “It was an old-school talk about some of the things they like to do. I was talking to them a little bit about what I have in store for them as far as a pitching plan and kind of what their next week entails, how I’m going to try to back both of them down as we get close to their starts and put them into that five-day rotation. It’s what I’ve done in years past with other Major League teams I’ve been with.”

Oswalt, who didn’t always see eye-to-eye with former pitching coach Dewey Robinson, has already developed a good relationship with Arnsberg.

“He got to coach one of the premier pitcher sin the league in [Roy] Halladay,” Oswalt said. “You learn some things from him because he’s been around and seen a lot of pitching. It doesn’t matter where you are in your career, you always learn something.”


Two days of camp are done the Astros remain relatively healthy. Right-hander Jeff Fulchino still has a sore ankle, but it doesn’t appear to be slowing him down. Right-hander Brandon Lyon is working his arm back in shape after having a cyst drained in his shoulder.

On Sunday, right-hander Casey Daigle was pulled out of last drill because of a slightly sprained right ankle.

“It’s nothing of any significance,” Houston manager Brad Mills said. “As a matter of fact, they said it’s better today than it was yesterday. Doing different things on different days they might aggravate it a little bit, but he was fine.”


One of the most entertaining drills the Astros have done in the first two days of camps involves manager Brad Mills hit a soft-covered baseball, a.k.a. rag ball, at the pitchers while they’re on the mound. Mills talks and yells encouragement during the drill, and the pitchers barely have time to catch their breath before another ball is hit to them.

As the drill progresses, Mills hits the balls harder and eventually Mills and first-base coach Bobby Meacham are hitting balls rhythmically at the pitchers.

“It’s a high-energy drill to keep the guys going,” Mills said. “We want them to have fun with it, but at the same time we want them to pick up in their reactions to the ball and reacting to who the ball is hit. We can have fun with it, they can have fun with it and get something out of it and learn from it.”


Among the position players to show up Sunday: Center fielder Michael Bourn, outfielder Jason Bourgeois, shortstop Tommy Manzella, third baseman Chris Johnson, outfielder Yordany Ramirez and second baseman Kaz Matsui. There are 12 positions players in camp, but they won’t work out until Wednesday.

“It’s nice to see them show up, and it’s probably nice for me because now I can spend some extra time with them,” manager Brad Mills said. “Before everybody gets here, I can spend some time and they’ll talk to me and I’ll get to know them.”

How the rotation shapes up with Myers

The Astros squeezed a few more bucks together and have reached an agreement wiht free-agent pitcher Brett Myers, pending a physical. That’s key, considering he missed most of last season after undergoing surgery on his hip.

If Myers is healthy for the entire season, this could be a key signing for the Astros. Myers will likely slide into the No. 3 spot in the rotation behind Roy Oswalt and Wandy Rodriguez, leaving Bud Norris, Felipe Paulino and Brian Moehler battling for two spots. I have to think Norris’ performance, youth and high ceiling give him a spot, and Moehler’s veteran presence and experience puts him ahead of Paulino.

Paulino has the stuff to succeed and could very well pitch his way into the rotation in the spring, forcing the Astros to slot him somewhere. That is a problem general manager Ed Wade and manager Brad Mills would love to have.

So as it stands, here is what the Astros’ rotation could look like once they get Myers in the fold.

Roy Oswalt, RHP, 32 years old (8-6, 4.12 ERA in 30 starts last year) — Oswalt, who needs only seven wins to tie the club career record, has been slowed by back problems the past three seasons, forcing the Astros to shut him down last year in mid-September. He still has the ability to be one of the best in the game if he remains healthy.

Wandy Rodriguez, LHP, 31 years old (14-12, 3.02 ERA in 33 starts) — The Astros can only hope Rodriguez’s coming-out party wasn’t a one-year show. He led the team in wins, starts, innings pitched, strikeouts and quality starts (23). He pitched like an ace for most of the season.

Brett Myers, RHP, 29 years old (4-3, 4.84 ERA in 18 games, including 10 starts) — He missed most of the season because of hip surgery, but he’s a hoss when healthy. He started at least 30 games in each season from 2003-2008, with the exception of 2007 when he was moved to closer and saved 21 games. He’s a significant upgrade to the rotation.

Bud Norris, RHP, 24 years old (6-3, 3.53 ERA in 11 games, including 10 starts) — Coming off an impressive rookie season in which he won his first three and final three starts, Norris could be poised for a breakthrough season.

Brian Moehler, RHP, 38 years old (8-12, 5.47 ERA in 29 starts) — The Astros picked up his $3 million option for 2010. He has the occasional rough outing, but he takes the ball every fifth day and is a workhorse. Excluding his first two and his last two starts, he was 8-8 wiht a 4.25 ERA in his other 25 starts.

Other candidates — RHP Felipe Paulino (3-11, 6.27 ERA), RHP Yorman Bazardo (1-3, 7.88 ERA), LHP Wesley Wright (3-4, 5.44 ERA as a reliever), RHP Wilton Lopez (0-2, 8.38 ERA).


Astros injury updates

Roy Oswalt was unavailable to the media Monday morning because the Astros sent him to the doctor have an upper-respiratory infection checked out. Oswalt, who left Saturday’s game with tightness in his lower back, said he had flu-like aches during the game.

As far as his back is concerned, Oswalt gave manager Cecil Cooper a thumbs-up Monday, leading Cooper to believe that Oswalt would be available to pitch Thursday against Atlanta. And general manager Ed Wade concurred.

“All indications I’ve gotten from [pitching coach] Dewey [Robinson] and from [head athletic trainer] Nate [Lucero] are that he should be ready to go in his next start,” Wade said.

Meanwhile, infielder Jeff Keppinger was unavailable Monday because of a stiff back and remains day-to-day. Reliever Alberto Arias, on the disabled list with a right hamstring strain, received a pain-killing injection in his right knee over the weekend is feeling better.

Oswalt has a new website

Roy Oswalt’s new website launched on Tuesday, and it’s very sharp.

The website features a link to his restaurant, Home Plate Fish and Steakhouse, which will open later his year in his hometown of Weir, Miss. There are also links to his ranch – Double 4 Ranch – as well as pictures, headlines featuring Oswalt (some of which undoubtedly written by a certain writer) as well as an online store.

Oswalt said the sale of merchandise will help him raise money for the Ronald McDonald House in Mississippi.

“I just thought it would help out with some of the stuff as far as adding money,” he said. “Instead of golf tournaments and stuff like that, people can buy merchandise and I can raise money that way. When you do a golf event, you tie up a lot of people.

“This will be a little quicker and easier and a lot more people can access it from all over the United States instead of one place. I’ve some shirts on there you can buy that say ‘Home Plate Steakhouse’ and my ranch, ‘Double 4 Ranch.'”

And as a reader pointed out, you can follow Roy on Twitter and Facebook.There are some pretty candid photos of Roy while hunting and fishing, and some cool photos taken during the construction of his restaurant, which I’m sure will have a McTaggart Burger on the menu (hold the mustard).

There’s even a place where you download photos of Roy and color them and hang them on your fridge. True story.

Brocail feels better after tip from Oswalt

Even after more than 20 years in professional baseball, relief pitcher Doug Brocail still seeks advice. Brocail summoned teammate Roy Oswalt to play catch with him Wednesday with hopes he could find out why he was having trouble getting his arm in the proper slot.

About 10 throws into the pitch-and-catch session, Oswalt pegged it. He told Brocail he needed to get his front side (left side) and his left arm higher during his delivery, which would, in turn, cause him to get his back side and throwing arm higher.

“He got me up and out,” said Brocail, who’s been limited to 8 1/3 innings because of three different stints on the disabled list this year. “I’ve been so lost mechanically. When I came back and was sore and when I blew out my leg I have been throwing with a really low arm slot.

“About the 10th throw with me yesterday, he walked me through it and got me to a comfortable position. He got me way back on top of the ball, and the ball was coming out of my hand about seven or eight mph harder than I’ve been throwing all year.”

Oswalt could tell a difference right away.

“Pitchers go through different funks where they don’t really know what they’re doing,” he said. “You can kind of feel the ball isn’t coming out of your hand right. There’s got to be a reason a lot of times, more than just the obvious. Doug was telling me that he felt he wasn’t getting over the top of the ball because his arm wasn’t up high enough.

“Usually that stems from your front side. Everything operates from your front side. Instead of just telling somebody to get your arm up higher, which is not really the answer you’re looking for, you can correct something to allow them to get their arm up.

“I noticed his forearm, his lead arm, was down, and instead of throwing on top of the ball he was throwing around the ball. You can tell a lot of stuff by the spin of the ball, and I could tell the ball had a tilt to it instead of an over-the-top spin. That stems from not coming over the top of the ball.”

Brocail, who’s currently on the disabled list with a right shoulder strain, said he felt “phenomenal” today and wants to get on the mound and throw in the bullpen Friday or Saturday. He said he would have to go on a Minor League rehab before returning, hopefully by the start of September.

“We haven’t talked that far, but I’d like to get back out there,” he said. “I need innings. I haven’t done anything for the team all year, and hopefully this will get me over the jump and put myself in better position to throw the baseball.”


Astros manager Cecil Cooper tried to talk shortstop Miguel Tejada into taking a day off when the two visited in the manager’s office before Thursday’s game, but Tejada convinced Cooper to keep writing his name in the lineup card. Tejada has started all but two games this year and leads the league in multi-hit games and hits.

“I’m the kind of guy, I like to play every day,” he said. “I don’t think I can help the team sitting on the bench. It doesn’t matter how tired I am, I can do the job. This time of year, everybody’s tired. As soon as I put on my uniform, I felt good to play nine innings.”

Cooper said he will have to settle for trying to give Tejada occasional innings off.

“He didn’t one, so we’re going to roll until I feel like he really needs it,” Cooper said. “He needs it, but he probably won’t get it.”