Right-hander Roy Oswalt addressed the local media in a conference call Wednesday afternoon, and said that he is confident that he can help the Rangers once he is ready to pitch in the major leagues.
Oswalt said that one of the main reasons he chose the Rangers was his relationship with Nolan Ryan, who was the owner of the Round Rock club when Oswalt was in Double A. Oswalt called Ryan one of his idols.
"A lot of it was Nolan. He's the one who pretty much started my career. He put his name on me to pitch in Double A and go on from there. I've got a lot of respect for Nolan. To have a guy like that behind and him put his stamp on you means a lot to a young player."
The Rangers' proximity to Mississippi was not a primary factor in him choosing the Rangers over suitors that he said included the Los Angeles Dodgers.
"Whether your six hours or 20 hours away from home, you're still not at home," Oswalt said.
Oswalt also dismissed his back as much of an issue. He has been throwing bullpen sessions every other day, up to 85 pitches. Because of that, he thinks that he needs only four starts with Triple A Round Rock before he is ready to join the Rangers.
He is planning to throw 50 to 60 pitches Saturday in his first start.
"I think we're going to play it by ear a little bit, but I know where I'm at," Oswalt said. "I'm hoping that's about four starts to get me ready to join the team."
Four starts would mean that he would be ready for the Rangers' series against Colorado on June 22-24.
-- Jeff Wilson