Oswalt returns to Miss. home following tornado activity

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Roy Oswalt has left the Phillies for "personal reasons," the team said Wednesday. (David Goldman/AP Photo)

PHOENIX --  Roy Oswalt left the Phillies shortly after his start against the Diamondbacks on Tuesday night because of what the team said were "personal reasons."

After initially declining to provide specifics, the team issued a statement from general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. that said Oswalt is returning to his home in Mississippi to check on his family and home because of tornado activity in the region. 

“There has been a tremendous amount of tornado activity near Roy’s home in Mississippi resulting in several tragic deaths and significant devastation to the area," the statement read. "Because of this, Roy is concerned about his family’s well-being. He has chosen to take time to make sure there wasn’t significant damage to his home, but more importantly, to make certain that his wife and children are okay.

"It is almost a year to the day that his parents’ home was destroyed by a tornado, which has heightened his concern about the current situation. We are hopeful that he will rejoin the team for his next start, but will take that day-by-day.”

Oswalt endured his roughest start as a Phillie in Tuesday's 7-5 loss, throwing just 57 pitches while allowing five runs in three innings. It was just the second time in his career that he pitched at least three innings and did not record a strikeout.

Manager Charlie Manuel noted after the game what was obvious to anybody who watched: Oswalt had little life on his pitches, and his fastball was a couple miles per hour slower than usual. But Amaro said the righthander is healthy. Two starts ago, Oswalt left early with what was described as back spasms. He returned five days later to hold the Padres to one hit in six scoreless innings, but pitching coach Rich Dubee said later that he did not think Oswalt was 100 percent recovered from the back injury.

"He's fine," Amaro said. "He just didn't have his good stuff yesterday. That happens."

The Phillies have two off days before Oswalt is scheduled to pitch again. They are off tomorrow, then have a three game series against the Mets, then have an off day on Monday. Scheduled to start against the Mets are Joe Blanton, Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee.