I'll have a more in-depth post-game post dropping within the next hour or two in the morning covering all of the bizareness emanating from Sunday's series finale at Kansas City ... but, right now at least, it sounds as though the Roy Oswalt situation may be about to boil to a head, and I'd like to spend a few moments focusing on what seems to be deteriorating into an exigent problem.
Oswalt, of course, pitched two brilliant frames in relief of Derek Holland on Sunday afternoon (2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 4 K, 0 BB), and neatly bridged the gap between the sixth and the ninth innings; however, after logging those two innings on 30 pitches, Ron Washington and company reportedly asked Oswalt to give the Rangers a third inning in relief, and Oswalt replied that he couldn't go any further, and that "he had had enough." Per MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan, the Rangers are uncertain as far as whether Oswalt will continue to pitch out of the bullpen going forward, and Sullivan cryptically remarks that "what happens next will be up to Oswalt ... or general manager Jon Daniels may have to resolve the issue."
I presume that there was an even greater sense of urgency to keep Oswalt out there on the bump than usual, given that both Alexi Ogando and Mike Adams were reportedly unavailable after having logged heavy workloads of late, and given that the game was knotted at 6-6 after eight innings, with extra innings appearing likelier than not. It's also worth noting that Oswalt had not pitched since August 2nd, when he logged two scoreless relief innings (though, for what it's worth, he also logged 5.1 high-stress innings on 96 pitches on July 30th), and that Oswalt voiced his roundabout displeasure about being utilized in a bullpen role just yesterday:
"I'm a starter," said Oswalt, who agreed to terms with the Rangers on a $4 million deal on May 21 that could reach $5 million based on incentives. "I'm not really a bullpen guy."
[... ] Does Oswalt believe the six starts were enough of a sample size to be judged?
"Well, I mean we're 4-2 in the games I started. I guess I should've been 6-0," Oswalt said. "Two bad ones and won four of them so... I don't know. We'll see how it goes."
Was he OK with the decision?
"It wasn't my decision," he said. "I'm down there to throw when they need me, I guess.... I don't know how long it's going to last."
Oswalt has looked impressive out of the bullpen in his two appearances over the last four days, and that, in turn, engendered some hope that he could be an asset for Texas in a multi-inning relief capacity, particularly since such an arrangement would theoretically allow him to pump higher-octane, higher-quality stuff into the plate in shorter bursts. It's unclear whether Oswalt truly was physically spent or not, but the beats seem to be painting this as a potentially flammable situation based on the fact that Oswalt outright declined to give the Rangers anymore innings, and you wonder what, if any, ramifications or consequences are going to stem from this incident ... or whether Oswalt is going to force the Rangers' hand and end up being traded/released in the near future.
11:30 p.m. CDT Update: Jon Daniels released this statement to the press with respect to the Oswalt kerfuffle: "Roy prefers to start. We had a call to make and did what we thought was best for the club. As we all know, things can change. Right now we're happy with how things set up but we understand his point of view." This seems tantamount to the Rangers acknowledging Oswalt's unhappiness, but holding firm on the organizational decision to utilize Oswalt as a reliever for the time being. If that doesn't fly, and the situation continues to deteriorate, then I suppose the Rangers will have to re-evaluate their available options and decide whether further action needs to be taken.
Oswalt has not been available for further comment since the conclusion of Sunday's game.