Oswalt starts to 'dial it in' vs. Minor Leaguers

Oswalt starts to 'dial it in' vs. Minor Leaguers

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Spring Training is just Spring Training to Roy Oswalt.

The adrenaline doesn't start pumping until the regular season, but as he gets closer to Opening Day, the Phillies right-hander starts to ramp up.

"In the first two, three [Spring Training] outings, you're just kind of getting feel," Oswalt said Sunday at Carpenter Complex. "Now, you're getting closer, you start to dial it in more."

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel did Oswalt a favor Sunday, when he let him pitch in a Minor League game at Carpenter Complex rather than take the long bus ride south to Fort Myers, Fla., to play the Minnesota Twins in a Grapefruit League game. In 5 2/3 innings against Phillies Minor Leaguers, Oswalt allowed four hits, two runs, zero walks and one home run. He struck out six.

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"I felt pretty good," Oswalt said. "The last two innings I tried to pitch in a little bit more. The first inning I was throwing away, trying to work on stuff. The last three innings I went in and out a little more. It's hard to pitch against guys who are on the same team. You don't want to hurt somebody's hand, make them miss the whole year. So I mixed some in, made sure I didn't hit anybody, felt good."

It is not usual for an established big league pitcher to pitch against Minor Leaguers in Spring Training. Roy Halladay is scheduled to do the same thing Wednesday.

It typically is a thrill for most hitters to step into the batter's box against one of the top pitchers in baseball. The same can be said for young pitchers facing established big league hitters.

Oswalt had the same experience as a Minor Leaguer, but he didn't realize it until he finished.

"My first start in rookie level, Chili Davis and Darryl Strawberry were in the lineup and I really didn't know," he said. "There weren't any names on the back and I didn't think they'd be down in the Gulf Coast League leading off every inning, but they were.

"They were the first guys I faced every inning for five innings. I was thinking, 'Man, these guys are big for rookie ball, 18, 19 years old.'"