DENVER The pain is gone. Roy Oswalt is eager to return to the Phillies' rotation. He will do so Sunday in San Francisco.
Im tired of watching and ready to be part of it, for sure, said the righthander, out since June 23 with a bulging disc in his lower back.
It should be fun. Id like to throw 10 shutouts in a row. I dont know if it will happen, but Im going to try.
Oswalt had a series of injections in his back last month and, after two minor-league rehab starts, says he feels great.
No pain, thats the big thing, he said. After the first couple of starts this season I was pitching in pain. Thats not fun. Its tough to perform that way. You try not to make excuses, but it got to the point where I wasnt giving the team a chance to win.
Oswalt is 4-6 with a 3.79 ERA in 13 starts. The Phils will have to make a roster move after Saturdays game to accommodate Oswalt. Its likely that they will move Kyle Kendrick to the bullpen and go with a 12-man pitching staff. That means the roster move could come from the bench. Outfielder Ben Francisco has a minor-league option and could be the odd man out until rosters expand on Sept. 1.
Oswalts return reunites the Phillies Big 4 rotation of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and Oswalt for the stretch drive. This also could be the stretch drive of Oswalts career. He turns 34 later this month and has hinted about retirement after the season. He and the Phillies have a mutual contract option for next season, but it is unlikely to be exercised.
The biggest thing is to win this year, Oswalt said. I havent thought about the future. The focus now is getting back and getting to the playoffs. I havent thought about what Im going to do, honestly.
Oswalt went 7-0 with a 1.31 ERA in his final 11 starts last season.
I hope I can get on a run like last year, he said. That would be great. But the thing about baseball is you never know until you get out there.
A bus carrying the Phillies single A Williamsport ballclub was involved in an accident in New York City late Tuesday night. Several players and a coach were treated and released from the hospital, according to general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. Amaro heard of the accident in a late-night text message from his younger brother, Luis, an outfielder on the team.
It was very scary, but everything seems OK, Amaro said.
Here are the pitching matchups for the series at San Francisco: