PHILADELPHIA -- Roy Oswalt rushed to return the first time his balky back put him on the disabled list.
He won't make that mistake again.
He can't -- a mild bulging disk means it's unlikely he'll return before August.
The Philadelphia Phillies right-hander, who shot down retirement rumors Saturday, has battled back trouble all season. He went on the DL in May because of what the Phillies called lower-back inflammation. He lasted just two innings in the Phillies' 12-2 loss to St. Louis on Thursday night and was put on the disabled list the next day.
The three-time All-Star is 4-6 with a 3.79 ERA in 13 games and 1-5 with a 4.06 ERA over his last eight starts.
"I was just worried because (the pain) was going a little bit farther down my leg," he said. "The symptoms I had in the past, it's always just been in my hip. For the last two or three weeks, it's gotten lower and lower down toward the knee."
Oswalt believes he can return for the final two months of the season.
Team doctor Michael Ciccotti says Oswalt, who does not have a herniated disc, will get a second opinion from a specialist in Dallas and then receive a treatment plan that could include rest, medication or injections.
Oswalt says doctors told him he eventually will need back surgery, but he's hoping to put it off. The disk has kept Oswalt from working out like he normally does, and he spent more time in his last two starts worrying about blowing out his back than his pitching.
"I was trying to get through each start," he said. "Instead of going to the seventh, eighth inning, I was trying to make it through five or six innings."
When Oswalt was finished after two in St. Louis, he knew there was serious trouble.
Oswalt and Joe Blanton (elbow) are both on the DL, leaving Vance Worley and Kyle Kendrick to fill their spots in the rotation. Thanks to Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, the Phillies have the best record in baseball entering Saturday's game against Oakland, leaving little reason for Oswalt to hurry back to the mound.
"I'm not going to come back and try and pitch through it like I did last time," he said. "I'm not helping the team too much."
Ciccotti gave updates on a few other injured Phillies.
• RHP closer Ryan Madson has swelling on the back of his pitching hand. He took a liner off his hand May 20 against Texas, but kept pitching and has 15 saves. He had a cortisone shot Friday and won't throw again until Monday or Tuesday. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said Antonio Bastardo will likely close, but hasn't ruled out Michael Stutes.
• RHP Brad Lidge, out all season with elbow/shoulder injuries, is feeling better and has a bullpen session Monday.
• RHP Jose Contreras (mild right forearm strain) won't throw for at least another two weeks.
• Blanton is working on a tossing program, has thrown up to 100 feet, and will have a bullpen session Monday.