Oswalt preaches durability to Astros pitchers

Former righty stressing preparation to reach 200-inning mark

Oswalt preaches durability to Astros pitchers

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Roy Oswalt, whose 143 wins in 10 years with the Astros are second in club history to only Larry Dierker (144), was back in an Astros uniform on Tuesday for the first time since the club traded him to the Phillies halfway through the 2010 season -- a move which essentially began the franchise's rebuild.

Astros manager A.J. Hinch invited Oswalt to the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches as a guest instructor.

"It's great to be back and back around the guys again," said Oswalt, who was a teammate with Carlos Beltran in 2004. "I wanted to give back some. After you've been there and got to play 13, 14, years in the big leagues, you can learn some things on the way and hopefully you can share some of that with the guys coming up."

Oswalt, 39, has been retired since 2013 and lives still lives in Weir, Miss., where he's farming and occasionally flying planes. He also coaches his daughter's softball team and is vice president of operations for RMG, a sports agency.

Oswalt said his biggest message to the pitchers is to prepare their arms and bodies to do more. Oswalt was a durable starter who had seven seasons at least 200 innings, including three of at least 230. His career high was 241 2/3 in '05. He threw 20 complete games in his career.

"A lot of guys prepare themselves just to get to 200 innings, and I think if you prepare yourself more to pitch beyond that, it's going to make it that much better," he said. "When I was in Spring Training, I told the guys all the time, 'I prepare myself to throw 300 innings and then when you only throw 230, 240, it's like a day off.' You train your body and arm to do more than you're supposed to do. You shouldn't train to do exactly what you're going to do. You should train to do more."

Oswalt, a back-to-back 20-game winner on the Astros' playoff teams in 2004 and '05, and the '05 National League Championship League Most Valuable Player, spent the morning with pitching coach Brent Strom watching several pitchers throw in the bullpen, including Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers Jr., who's been compared to Oswalt. He spent the most time, though, with Francis Martes, a hard-throwing right-hander and the club's No. 1 prospect, according to MLBPipeline.com.

McCullers on Astros' pitching

McCullers, like Oswalt, throws hard for someone of a smaller stature and has a great curveball. Oswalt pitched in the mid-90s and had one of the sharpest curveballs in the game. Oswalt threw his fastball more than McCullers, though.

"There's really no limit what impact he can bring," Hinch said. "It's nice for the pitchers. It's really just sharing the wisdom he gained over a very successful 13-year career. He's done a lot in the game, and players respect that and people respond to that."

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.