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Oswalt eager to help Rockies contend in NL West

DENVER -- Right-hander Roy Oswalt believes the Rockies will catch fire and contend for a playoff spot, and he hopes he can be a part of it.

An MRI confirmed that he has a left hamstring strain, which he suffered on July 7. Oswalt said he feels much better than the first four to five days after the injury, and he's been throwing on flat ground to keep the arm in shape. He didn't speculate on when he would be able to return, since he has not dealt with a hamstring injury before.

"We're in position coming into the break, we're not out of it by any means," Oswalt said. "The biggest thing is just being consistent, and run off eight out of 10, 10 out of 12."

Oswalt (0-4, 7.64 ERA since joining the team on June 20) demonstrated good movement and velocity on his fastball, but the secondary pitches weren't sharp. He also said he will return with a better plan.

"Going back and looking at tape, I've got to mix it up a little bit more, inside and out," he said. "I pitched a lot away the first two or three games and got hurt a few times away. I need to change eyesight a little bit, away and inside."

Oswalt, 35, signed a Minor League deal with the Rockies in early May and didn't appear in the Majors until June 20. He had a similar year last year, when he signed late, struggled and didn't feel he fit in with the Rangers (4-3, 5.80 ERA in 17 games, nine starts).

Both years he did not have a Spring Training or the early part of a season to work through struggles. Oswalt said showing up in the middle of the year is not by design.

"It would have been great if I'd had a job offer coming into Spring Training -- I had some bullpen offers," he said. "Everyone asks, 'Does this guy not want to play?' I can't make myself get on somebody's team. They've got to offer. You can't show up at somebody's Spring Training and say, 'I'm playing for you.'"

Oswalt said he is comfortable with the Rockies. The 100-pitch limit the club has for starters is not a problem for him, since he believes in staying in the strike zone. He hopes to be able to show the Rockies what he can do, not only to help this year, but to possibly entice the club to invite him back next year.

"I'm hoping to get back and have some starts, be effective," Oswalt said. "I feel like I can be. I haven't hit that groove yet where I can roll off 10, 12 wins in a row. I'm trying to get back in the sync of things. I'm going to pound the strike zone. I don't walk a lot of guys."

Thomas Harding is a reporter for Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. Ian McCue is an associate reporter for
Read More: Colorado Rockies, Roy Oswalt