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Oswalt thanks Ausmus with watch

Oswalt thanks Ausmus with watch

HOUSTON -- Over the course of the better part of this decade, Roy Oswalt grew dependent on Brad Ausmus' steady hand behind the plate. That hand guided the right-hander through very few bad times over the course of eight seasons, and Oswalt, one of the premier pitchers in the National League, wants to make sure his catcher receives the credit he deserves for his personal success.

As Oswalt exited the mound during what could have been his last start of the season on Thursday, he took a moment to shake hands with and thank Ausmus, who is in his final weekend with the Astros.

On Friday, Oswalt presented Ausmus with a watch, engraved with the number of Oswalt's pitches Ausmus caught since Oswalt broke into the league in '01. Also engraved was Oswalt's record with Ausmus behind the plate, and the words, "Thank You."

The number of pitches: 19,284. The record, based on games that both Oswalt and Ausmus started together: 99-47.

"A lot of people think pitching only works one way," Oswalt said. "[A good catcher] can make your pitching so much better.

"Any time you've got somebody who understands you every night when you're out there, you want to show a sign of appreciation."

Ausmus was moved by the gesture.

"I think it's awesome," he said. "It's not easy for me to be touched, but I was touched last night when he wanted to shake my hand on the field, and I was even more touched when he gave me this watch. With the engraving, it's something that I'll keep forever and always look back on the years I played with him."

Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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