Roy Oswalt has officially agreed to terms on a minor league agreement with the Texas Rangers.
The club reported the acquisition of the 34-year-old independent agent pitcher during Tuesday night’s game with the Seattle Mariners. He is anticipated to join Triple-A Round Rock this weekend, and general manager Jon Daniels said Oswalt will make his 1st minor league start on Saturday. Football lines
“He’s been throwing for quite some time now; he feels great about where he is,” Rangers president Nolan Ryan asserted. “I think he’s been away long enough that he’s excited about coming to the Rangers and getting back to pitching on a regular basis.”
Sources said the contract for Oswalt presupposes that if he’s called up by July 1, he will make $4 million and can make another $1 million in incentives based on the amount of starts he makes.
A resource said Oswalt could be prepared to join the Rangers’ rotation by June 20, meaning he’ll need at least 3 weeks in the minors to build up his arm strength and to get used to pitching to live hitters.
“The bottom line is I believe we’re better today with Roy in the fold,” Daniels claimed. “Ownership stepped out. This was not anything we considered in the budget.”
Oswalt threw for the Rangers in Mississippi on May 18 and that very same night, Neftali Feliz had command issues, walked 5 Houston Astros and wasn’t in a position to throw a full 5 innings. It was found right after that that he had a sprained ligament in his right elbow. Feliz isn’t likely to come back to the rotation before the All-Star break.
The St. Louis Cardinals, Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Dodgers all had an interest in Oswalt and made various offers, some exceeding that of the Rangers, sources recounted. However, Oswalt’s’ relationship with Ryan when both were with the Astros franchise, the closeness to Oswalt’s home and so the Rangers are in contention helped the club land him.
“Once he gets some innings in, he’ll fit in the rotation and pitch us deep into games,” Ryan said.
Oswalt had 2 stints on the DL last season due to lower-back inflammation. Daniels claimed the club is familiar with Oswalt’s back problems since his doctor is local and deals with the Texas Rangers. They’ll learn more after the physical, but after seeing a long-toss session and 50 pitches in a bullpen and speaking with Oswalt were convinced he’s healthy and good to go.
Oswalt has spent his entire career in the NL, going 159-93 with a 3.21 ERA in 339 games (326 starts) for Houston (2001-10) and Philadelphia (2010-11). He’s not pitched for any club since 2011, when he was 9-10 with a 3.69 ERA in 223 starts. He was on the DL twice last year with lower-back issues.
Oswalt last pitched against the Rangers on June 27, 2010, a night when slugger Josh Hamilton hit a homer several rows into the upper deck in right-center field way above the Texas bullpen. The drive was measured at 490 feet, the longest home run hit at Rangers Ballpark.