Don’t call it a comeback. According to Roy Oswalt, he never really quit baseball in the first place.
Oswalt’s career seemingly has been winding down over the past couple years. He went from being a member of the Four Aces to sitting out the first two months of the 2012 season, eventually signing with Texas. It was the worst season of his career – 4-3 with a 5.80 ERA – and it ended with Oswalt shuffling back and forth between the bullpen.
The 35 year old just couldn’t stay away from the diamond though. Oswalt signed a Minor League contract with the Rockies in May, and reportedly is close to joining the team.
"The biggest thing is the passion for the game," Oswalt said in a recent interview with ROOT Sports Rocky Mountain. "You go home and think about what you've done for 20 years, and you kind of watch it from the sideline, and you know you can still do it.
"I think that was the hardest part to get over. Seeing the guys play and watching baseball on TV made it even worse. I think the passion for the game kind of got to me, and I knew I had a good many years I could probably still play, and I want to do it until I can't do it (any) more."
Oswalt made his fifth and final start in the minors on Friday, finishing up his stint with a 2-2 record and 2.88 earned run average. If the right-hander is not on the big league roster by Tuesday, he can become a free agent. All signs point to the Rockies bringing him on board.
The Phillies are in Colorado to play three, but won’t face Oswalt this weekend. They might see him when the two teams meet again for four games at Citizens Bank Park in August however. What should they expect?
"I'm not 94 (mph) anymore," Oswalt, 35, said of the velocity of his fastball. "I'm 91, 92, and that's what I was in some of the best years of my career. Overall, I've been pretty pleased with the way I've been able to pitch."
No matter what he says, Oswalt’s best years are probably behind him, but it’s cool he enjoys the game so much that he would keep coming back for more – even if it means playing for the Rockies. Denver Post columnist Patrick Saunders believes Oswalt is "crucial" to the club’s chances to contend for a playoff spot, so at least he wound up someplace he is wanted.
>> Pitcher Roy Oswalt progressing, could join Rockies in next few days [Denver Post]