MOOSIC, Pa. - Roy Oswalt was encouraged by his second rehabilitation start and expects his next start to be for keeps with the Phillies.
Oswalt pitched six innings and allowed seven hits and two runs, both earned, as the Lehigh Valley IronPigs beat the host Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees, 4-2, in the first game of a doubleheader on Monday at PNC Field. He struck out four and walked two, throwing 94 pitches, 61 for strikes.
When asked if he sees any reason why he shouldn't start in one of the weekend games in San Francisco against the Giants, Oswalt, not a man of many words, replied, "I don't think so."
Rehabilitating from a back injury, Oswalt consistently threw in the low 90s, topping out at 92 m.p.h.
Oswalt struck out he final batter he faced, rightfielder Jordan Parraz, with a 91 m.p.h. fastball to end the sixth inning. Last Wednesday, Oswalt threw 72 pitches in four innings for Lehigh Valley during a 4-1 win over the Pawtucket Red Sox at Coca-Cola Park.
In Monday's game, Oswalt allowed an RBI single by Yankees catching prospect Jesus Montero in the first inning and an RBI single to leftfielder Austin Krum in the fourth.
Oswalt has not pitched for the Phillies since throwing two innings on June 23 during a 12-2 loss at St. Louis against the Cardinals.
"The back feels great. I don't have any pain," Oswalt said. "Right now it is getting back in that rhythm of pitching."
He understands that there may be a little rust when he returns to the rotation.
"I probably won't throw a no-hitter the first time out, but I wish I could," he said. "But I feel pretty good. It's a matter of make good pitches."
Oswalt said he felt good about executing all his pitches.
"My velocity is doing a lot better. My change-up, I threw some good ones. Hung a few," Oswalt said. "Overall, my curveball was pretty decent, and I am getting back in shape."
Oswalt said he never cares about radar gun readings but was pleased with the movement on his fastball.
"I look mainly the way guys respond to the fastball," he said. "Only one guy hit one fastball on the barrel."
He said most of the batters hit the fastball as either jam shots or off the end of the bat.
"I could tell the ball was getting on some guys," he said. "Seeing my fastball, the life was coming back."
This season for the Phillies, Oswalt is 4-6 with a 3.79 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 71 1/3 innings.
Oswalt said he felt so good on Monday that he volunteered to throw another inning, although the plan all along was for him to throw 90 to 95 pitches.
Now he's ready to do the rest of his throwing with the Phillies.
Contact staff writer Marc Narducci at 856-779-3225, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @sjnard on Twitter.