Oswalt tosses two scoreless innings in his Express debut

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Round Rock second baseman Yangervis Solarte turns a double play while Albuquerque’s Jerry Sands (50) tries to break it up.

Photo Credit: Andrew Torrey | Daily Texan Staff

 

Roy Oswalt pitched two scoreless innings in Round Rock’s 3-2 win over the Albuquerque Isotopes in front of a sold-out Dell Diamond crowd Saturday evening. He worked around three hits and a walk in his first step towards joining the Texas Rangers.

“I was pretty much where I thought I would be at,” Oswalt said. “I was hoping to go a little bit longer, but I was able to go to the bullpen and threw about 30 more pitches.” Oswalt threw 34 pitches over his two innings and about half of them came with runners on base.

The Isotopes jumped on Oswalt’s pitches before he settled in as the first three batters reached base to start the game.

“When you get guys on base you have to throw more quality strikes and it makes you focus a little bit more,” Oswalt said. His pitch count for his next start is set at 50 and the plan is for that number to increase by about 20 in each start. The Rangers are hoping to have Oswalt fit and ready for the majors by the end of June.

Oswalt says Texas reminds him of his hometown in Mississippi and his experience with the Houston Astros is one of the reasons he decided to join the Rangers over other contending clubs. This is Oswalt’s second go-around with the Express, as he was a part of the team when it used to be affiliated with the Houston Astros.

“The difference is 12 years ago I was a lot younger and I knew I had one shot to make it,” Oswalt said.

He established a relationship with Nolan Ryan while he was a member of the Express during his initial rise to the majors. “I followed Nolan Ryan growing up and he gave me a chance to start my career in the big leagues,” Oswalt said. “I could have gone to two or three other places that offered more money, but it wasn’t about that.”

Oswalt signed a one-year $5 million deal this past week. He was 9-10 with a 3.69 ERA with the Philadelphia Phillies, while battling back issues for the majority of the 2011 season.