So I took a week to go back to Houston during spring training, and the first full day I was gone, Jason Castro goes and blows out his ACL. Then yesterday, I shortcut the team to Philadelphia and J.A. Happ yanks an oblique muscle. (Don't know what happened when Clint Barmes broke his hand. Someone must have misread the X-ray.) Aside from the Astros' falling apart without me, there was more quasi-related news in Roy Oswalt making his last spring start in an exhibition here in Philadelphia, putting him on normal rest for Sunday's matchup with the Astros. It was supposed to be a Happ-Oswalt meeting, but if Happ is a no-go, then Bud Norris would still be on plenty of rest — the usual four days plus one because they switched Norris and Happ to avoid having Happ face the Phillies in Monday's Grapefruit League finale. (Norris was slated to go on seven days' rest in the series opener against the Reds Tuesday.) For Oswalt, it was not a good outing results-wise, but he came through it healthy. He failed to record an out on four batters in the fifth inning, giving him a line of 4 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 4 K. "I was a little wild today," said as he transitioned from playing in the 80-something degree weather of the Gulf Coast to the 30-something degrees on the banks of the Delaware. "The ball was sort of cue-ballish, I guess you could say." He estimated that he threw 85-90 pitches — as official counts are not kept in spring games — so big kudos to the Astros media relations staff for counting at least for the starters this spring &mdash. That count for Oswalt is the highest he got, as he was unable to finish the fourth when Manny Ramirez clocked a line drive off his neck. Oswalt insisted that his biggest challenge in his next start would be mechanics not pitch count. And not any sort of strangeness with facing his old team.
As Happ crumbles, Oswalt stumbles toward matchup with former team
Houston Chronicle | Mar 30