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Oswalt: No trade demand, but deal might be best

HOUSTON (AP) — Astros ace Roy Oswalt said he has not demanded a trade, but questioned the direction of his team and thinks a deal might be the best thing for everyone.

The 32-year-old Oswalt (2-6, 2.66 ERA) said Saturday that it's time for him to move on and that he thinks he has a two-year window to contribute to a World Series championship.

Oswalt said he communicated to owner Drayton McLane through his agent that dealing him might benefit both parties.

"I've been here 10 years and given everything I've got for 10 years, done everything I need to do to stay on the field," he said. "Hopefully, there may be some options for both of us out there. I'm not looking for an 'out' for me, from the standpoint as a franchise player for 10 years. But I think it would be a good thing for both of us."

The Astros entered Saturday's game with Tampa Bay with an NL-worst 15-27 record. Oswalt said he and agent Bob Garber have been talking to McLane for 4-5 days and asked team executives about their timeline for rebuilding.

"I just kind of asked as an option, and what they were thinking as far as which direction they're going, do they plan to get young, or try to get some more players, or what direction are they going?" Oswalt said. "They didn't really have an answer for what they were going to do right now."

Oswalt is done waiting.

His ERA ranks ninth in the NL, but Houston has scored a total of six runs in his six losses. His contract expires after next season, and the Astros hold an option for 2012.

"I've got a small window," he said. "I've got two years left, and those two years, I'm trying to get back to the playoffs. I haven't been there since '05."

Oswalt was drafted by the organization in 1996 and played in the majors since 2001. The Astros started 15-30 in 2005 and rallied to take the NL pennant, but Oswalt doesn't foresee a turnaround like that this year.

"Now, we're close to that record now and the stance isn't the same as it was in '05," he said. "It's not like I'm not happy here. This is the only place I know. They've given me a chance to play since '97, and I've always wanted to finish here.

"But I want to win, too. If you go into spring training and you're not willing to win the whole thing, there's no sense in playing."

Oswalt said he was surprised when news broke about his request, and he doesn't want to become a distraction. He's due to start again in Milwaukee next Wednesday, and insists it'll be business as usual.

"It won't be awkward to me," he said. "I'm going to compete and hopefully, keep the game close and hopefully, we'll win some games. You never know, we may take off and start winning games, a bunch in a row. Me personally, it won't be awkward to me. As far as the players, I don't think it's really different for them."

Pitcher Brett Myers and first baseman Lance Berkman refused to comment on Oswalt's situation before Saturday's game.

Oswalt said he has a few destination teams in mind, but he wouldn't specify them. If the Astros can't deal him, Oswalt said he'll dutifully take his starts and play out this season here.

"I still don't want people to think I'm leaving because we're not doing well right now," he said. "The reason is I don't have much of a window left to play, and I want another shot at winning.

"We've got some great players, we've got some good young players coming up with Michael (Bourn) and Hunter (Pence), they're going to be superstars for a while," he said. "I just thought it was a time in my career where I needed a different place, I guess you could say."