ARLINGTON -- The Rangers are not going to put Roy Oswalt on the fast track to the big league. Pitching coach Mike Maddux said the plan is for Oswalt to throw two or three innings in his first start at Triple-A Round Rock on Saturday. "He still has to go through the Spring Training program," Maddux said. "We're going to work on the side of caution. Get ready one time and not risk any setbacks and have to start over. He's one with that." Starting pitchers usually have five or six outings in the spring. They start out at 20-30 pitches and increase that by 15 pitches per outing. Oswalt has been throwing approximately 65-85 pitches in his bullpen sessions prior to signing with the Rangers. That might put him ahead of schedule, but he'll still likely need at least four starts in the Minors before he's ready.
Maddux spoke with Oswalt on Wednesday. Maddux was Oswalt's pitching coach in Round Rock when it was the Astros' Double-A affiliate back in 2000. "He's a 20-game winner, he works fast and he throws strikes," Maddux said. "When he's healthy, he's a pretty valuable asset. It just might be a while." Maddux said he has no concerns about Oswalt getting such a late start to the season. "You get him coming in at midseason, he's pretty fresh," Maddux said. "It will be a pretty good boost. When you go through the dog days of August, it will be like his May." Rangers general manager Jon Daniels cited one more factor that weighed in favor of signing Oswalt. With an extra Wild Card added this season, there could be more teams competing for playoff spots and less teams trading away players at the Trade Deadline. "If you can make a preemptive move, it makes a lot of sense," Daniels said.