FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Amidst reports that right-hander Roy Oswalt may sit out until midseason before signing with a team, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine acknowledged that while there would have been some greater security to be gleaned by signing the veteran, that Oswalt comes with his own question marks. That being the case, Valentine remained comfortable with the idea of having a large group of potential starters (Daniel Bard, Alfredo Aceves, Carlos Silva, Vicente Padilla, Aaron Cook, Felix Doubront, Andrew Miller) compete for the final two spots in the rotation.
"I would just think that history is a great teacher. Recent history showed me that the team that won our division last year had no fourth and fifth starter coming into spring training last year," Valentine said, referring to a 2011 Yankees team that had an open spring training competition for the back of the rotation that yielded Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia, both of whom proved year-long rotation mainstays. "That’s as comfortable as I am. It’s not like I’m so comfortable. Roy Oswalt, he’d be maybe more comfortable, but I wouldn’t be totally comfortable. What did he pitch,  innings last year?"
The Sox had remained interested in Oswalt throughout the offseason, and had a standing one-year offer on the table to him. The 34-year-old was 9-10 with a 3.69 ERA, 6.0 strikeouts and 2.1 walks per nine innings in 2011, a season in which he was limited to 23 starts by back woes.
According to a major league source, the Red Sox had not heard from the pitcher in recent days leading up to an announcement, and so the team had been operating on the assumption that it would not sign the three-time All-Star. In his career, Oswalt is 159-93 with a 3.21 ERA in 11 seasons. Oswalt ranks fourth among active pitchers in career ERA and 10th in wins.
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