Not the Season Roy Oswalt Wanted

24 Jun

This is not the season Roy Oswalt was hoping for.

The Phillies All-Star pitcher has had his struggles both on and off the field.  On the field he has been plagued by back pain and ineffectiveness.  Off the field his family home was badly damaged when tornadoes ravaged Mississippi.  And last night he had to leave the game after only the second inning with tightness in his lower back.

It was Oswalt’s eighth start since returning May 17th, from a stint on the 15-day disabled list with lower back inflammation.  Since then he has struggled  with a record of 1-5 with a 4.06 ERA.  No decision has yet been made as to whether Oswalt will go back on the DL.  He will have an MRI on Monday and will most likely miss at least his next start.

This is not the season Roy Oswalt was hoping for.

He never looked comfortable on the mound last night and Oswalt admitted after the game that he had back discomfort in his last start in Seattle as well.  But Oswalt is an old-school guy who doesn’t like to let his team down.  He’s used to pitching with pain and he’s not a complainer.

“I don’t want to be labeled a quitter,” Oswalt said in comments to the media after the game.  “Everybody goes through aches and pains and I thought maybe I could push through and make it to the All-Star break and maybe get a few more days off, but I didn’t quite make it.”

Oswalt has struggled with back pain all season.  Some thought he made his problem worse when he returned home to help clean up his home town after the damaging storms. But this is not a new problem.  Last year he had an MRI that showed two degenerated discs in his back.  Not a good injury for a pitcher who used to overpower hitters with his 95 mph-plus fastball.  A fastball that has eluded him this year.

This is not the season Roy Oswalt was hoping for. 

Roy Oswalt has always been a gamer.  He played left field in one memorable 16-inning game last year when the Phillies had run out of bench payers.  (Of course the first fly ball came his way and he handled it like a pro.)  He also volunteered to pitch in relief in a play-off game against the Giants last year with a not-so happy ending.  But he has always been a payer who puts team first.  As he will now.

“I’m going to do what’s best for the team.  If I can’t pitch, I can’t pitch.  I’m not going to keep gong out there and keep being a liability to the bullpen to have to pick me up.”

That’s certainly what happened last night as the Phillies lost the get-away game to the Cardinals by a 12-2 score.  But that was just one game, one loss.  For Roy Oswalt, there could be much more at stake.  And given his history and the fact that he admits to being in pain a lot of the time,  “when I sit down and I stand up, when I walk, pitch sleep,” even Oswalt has concerns for his career.

“I’ve had a pretty good one,” he said with a laugh last night.  “You throw as long as you can throw, and when you can’t throw no more, you can’t throw no more.  I’m going to keep throwing as long as I can, and hopefully it’s not gotten to that point where I can’t throw no more.  But if it’s gotten to that point, you just have to accept it.”

This is not the season Roy Oswalt was hoping for.


2 Responses to “Not the Season Roy Oswalt Wanted”

  1. Paula Freilich June 24, 2011 at 4:51 pm #

    Since I’m not allowed to watch the Phillies games (edict by Geetie), this will be the way I find out what’s happening. Thanks for letting me share in the joys and sorrows.

    • girlsbestphriend June 24, 2011 at 5:36 pm #

      Hey Paula,
      Thanks for subscribing! I’ll try to keep things interesting for you.


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