Was Roy Oswalt Rushed by the Rangers Last Year?

Jason O. Watson

Jon Heyman writes that Roy Oswalt allegedly felt "rushed to the bigs" last year by Texas

Jon Heyman has an interesting column about Roy Oswalt up at CBS Sports. Heyman says that Oswalt wants to prove he can still pitch, while also repairing his "once prestine rep," which apparently took a hit after last year's disaster of a season with Texas.

The whole thing is worth reading, and Heyman echoes what we've heard elsewhere in saying that "Texas' baseball department was said not to favor the signing from the start," which was reportedly handled and negotiated personally by CEO Nolan Ryan, a long-time friend of Oswalt's.

But of particular note is this paragraph:

It also didn't help that word got out that Oswalt didn't fit into the Rangers clubhouse, the same clubhouse that welcomed and enjoyed previous mid-year pickups, from superstar Cliff Lee to spare outfielder Jeff Francoeur. Oswalt allegedly felt rushed to the big leagues. Then later, he disagreed when they wanted to move him into the bullpen.

Not fitting in the clubhouse isn't all that surprising, given what we heard last year, but Oswalt feeling "rushed to the big leagues" took me aback, given that my recollection was that he was saying he wanted to be in the majors earlier than the Rangers were planning on bringing him up.

Scott Lucas pointed me to this piece on mlb.com that went up after Oswalt's June 17, 2012, start for Round Rock, the start that ended up being his last minor league outing before his recall:

After turning in a quality start and earning a win for Triple-A Round Rock Sunday, Roy Oswalt believes he's ready to return to the big leagues.

Oswalt threw 100 pitches, 70 of them strikes, over six innings, allowing two runs on six hits while striking out five and walking one in a 4-2 Express victory. The outing was an improvement from his last start, when he threw 85 pitches and lasted only 3 1/3 innings, giving up three third-inning runs with Double-A Frisco on Tuesday.

When asked if he felt prepared to pitch in the Major Leagues again, Oswalt did not hesitate.

"I do," Oswalt said. "I probably could have thrown two more innings. My arm strength's there. The pitch location is getting better. Hopefully the next stop is Arlington."

The Rangers have their rotation set for their three-game series against the Padres that begins Monday. They have yet to name a starter past their off-day Thursday, but Oswalt is a candidate to make his Rangers debut in Friday's series opener against the Rockies in Arlington.

"It's their decision. I can't just go up there on my own," Oswalt said. "I feel like I'm ready. The plan was six starts but, after tonight, I feel pretty well. Everything's coming out of my hand pretty well. The ball's kind of jumping on guys. That's what I was looking for."

Maybe Oswalt really did feel like he was being rushed. Maybe Oswalt knew the Rangers were going to call him up after that June 17 start, and he felt like he had to say the right things.

But it is curious that he would say last year that he wanted to be back in the majors, that he thought he was ready and didn't need more time in the minor leagues, but is now (according to Heyman) saying that the Rangers "rushed" him back to the big leagues.

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