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Archive for Monday, February 23, 2004

Oswalt to start Astros opener

February 23, 2004

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— Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte had just arrived at spring training Sunday when Houston Astros manager Jimy Williams announced that neither one would start on opening day.

But the decision to go with Roy Oswalt came as no surprise to the ex-Yankees.

"Jimy and I talked about it a couple of weeks ago, and that's how we talked about it," Clemens said. "To me, all the guys are deserving. We've all had our opportunities to start opening day."

Oswalt, one of three holdovers from last year's rotation along with Wade Miller and Tim Redding, is one of the best young pitchers in baseball. He was a 19-game winner in 2002, but he was hampered by chronic groin injuries in 2003 and had surgery in the offseason to correct the problem.

Clemens and Pettitte were big offseason acquisitions, but Williams decided to go with Oswalt against San Francisco on April 5 in Houston.

Pettitte will go second in the rotation, followed by Clemens. Miller will pitch fourth, and Redding is No. 5. Williams' decision positions the left-handed Pettitte between the team's top right-handers.

Williams told the pitchers of his decision after pitchers and catchers underwent physicals and prepared for the first workout of spring training.

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