He's getting there.
In Philadelphia, Comcast Sportsnet aired the game due to the unique circumstances. It was a rare opportunity to check out some Single-A baseball.
Triple-A and the bigs aren't vastly different, but at the Single-A level, you could see why a lot of these players have a while to go. There were some misplays in the field and some control issues from the pitchers.
Roy Oswalt started, while Chase Utley and Carlos Ruiz got in some at-bats.
Obviously, Utley and the knee have been the story in Clearwater. He has 18 games remaining in his 20-game rehab assignment.
More than anything, I wanted to see Utley run the bases.
He lead-off the fourth and worked a walk. Ruiz hit a groundball in the hole to move Utley to second. He had no limp, no wincing as he went full-board into second. On the plant rounding second base, once again no limp, no wincing.
It's a great sign.
Oswalt came in with a 75 pitch limit and didn't have the normal velocity on his fastball. Jim Salisbury reported that his fastball read 89-91 MPH on the radar gun and Ruiz stated that his fastball had no life.
At the minor league level, the hitters see mostly fastballs, so I was trying to figure out whether or not Oswalt threw a lot of changeups and breaking pitches for that reason.
When he threw his fastball, the Cardinals got some good swings in.
After a long bottom of the fourth that saw the Threshers score two, the Cardinals answered with two of their own in the top of the fifth.
With the tightness in his back, Oswalt sat for about 15 minutes during Clearwater's at-bat in the fourth and just didn't look sharp in that fifth inning.
Overall, Oswalt allowed three earned on seven hits and one walk in five innings pitched.
I'd like to see him get another rehab start in before being called back up.
Ruiz, also recovering from a sore back, went one-for-three with a single and a run scored. Most likely, he'll be brought up tomorrow for the Atlanta Braves series.
As for the game, Clearwater defeated Palm Beach 7-5.