It looks like Roy Oswalt is finally ready to come back and assume the role of fourth Phillies ace. The veteran right hander threw his second and likely last rehab start on Monday, with the good news beginning that his back no longer seems to be an issue.
“The back feels great. I don’t have any pain,” Oswalt said, per philly.com. “Right now it is getting back in that rhythm of pitching. I probably won’t throw a no-hitter the first time out, but I wish I could. But I feel pretty good. It’s a matter of making good pitches.”
Oswalt gave up two runs on seven hits in six innings while pitching for Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He allowed two walks and recorded four strikeouts on 94 pitches. He also got 10 outs on ground balls, meaning he was keeping the ball down — a good sign. Another good sign is that Oswalt’s fastball topped out at 92 mph while he was able to consistently throw in the low 90s.
“My velocity is doing a lot better. My change-up, I threw some good ones. Hung a few,” Oswalt said. “Overall, my curveball was pretty decent, and I am getting back in shape.”
He knows his fastball returning is key to his performance.
“I look mainly the way guys respond to the fastball,” Oswalt said. “Only one guy hit one fastball on the barrel. I could tell the ball was getting on some guys. Seeing my fastball, the life was coming back.”
Oswalt has been on the disabled list since June 24 while dealing with a back issue that has been a recurring problem for a good part of the season. The expectation now is that he will be activated no later than the end of the week. With Oswalt hopefully back and healthy the Phillies can look to extend their National League dominance, especially now with the addition of outfielder Hunter Pence helping to carry the load on offense.
Damn it’s a good time to be a Phillies fan.
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