Oswalt looking better
Despite a few days' reprieve with the All-Star break, the second half of the season is not lacking for injury content. Several players have come back from injury since the second half of the season started (David Ortiz, Alfonso Soriano), a few are still on the mend (Kerry Wood) and new injuries continue to crop up. We take a look at some of the key fantasy players dealing with injury below, and welcome back another Tommy John graduate this week.
Roy Oswalt, P, Houston Astros: Oswalt is scheduled to return to the mound Monday against the Cincinnati Reds after two uneventful bullpen sessions last week. Oswalt has been sidelined with what the team has been calling a hip abductor strain, although a recent MRI also confirmed a disk problem in his lower back. The two problems certainly appear to be connected, since Oswalt told the Houston Chronicle several weeks ago that a spinal injection left him feeling "great." In fact, it is difficult to completely dissociate the two problems since disk injury in the lower back often contributes, either directly or indirectly, to hip problems. The abductor muscles help to move the hip laterally, and perhaps more importantly in Oswalt's case since the involved leg is his landing leg, contribute to stability of the pelvis. I said in a prior blog that I would not be surprised to see Oswalt end up on the disabled list due to the complex nature of his injury. He has no doubt benefited from the rest and rehab afforded him during his stint on the disabled list, and the good news is that he has been able to throw off a mound recently without pain. His first bullpen session was Wednesday, at which point the Astros' official site reported that Oswalt threw at approximately 75-80 percent of full strength. On Friday he upped his intensity but capped the pitches at about 25-30 according to the Houston Chronicle. He also faced a pair of teammates in an effort to prepare for Monday's outing. Manager Cecil Cooper told the Chronicle that he expects Oswalt to throw about 90 pitches, which may be optimistic for his first outing. The concern with the type of problem that Oswalt has is recurrence. This is not a ligament sprain waiting to heal with a fairly definitive timetable. This is a more complex interplay of disk dysfunction, which tends to be chronic, and a related muscle group (hip abductors) involved in a very repetitive motion (pitching). If all goes well, it may still take Oswalt some time to build up the endurance to go deep into a game. Fantasy owners should be cautious.
To continue reading this article you must be an Insider