Agent: Oswalt plans to pitch in 2012

The agent for Roy Oswalt affirmed Wednesday that the veteran pitcher “absolutely” plans to pitch in 2012, following a season in which he was twice placed on the disabled list with lower back inflammation.

“His back feels great,” Bob Garber told “He’s definitely looking for a long-term contract.”

Oswalt, 34, hinted earlier this year that he might consider retiring after the 2011 season. He went 9-10 with a 3.69 ERA in 23 starts, his fewest since 2003. He was diagnosed with a bulging disk in his back, for which he received cortisone and epidural injections in July, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Oswalt had a strong September, pitching a minimum of six full innings in each of his six starts. But he lost his only start of the postseason, in Game 4 of the National League Division Series against St. Louis. He became a free agent after the Phillies declined their $16 million contract option and paid him a $2 million buyout.

Oswalt, a career National Leaguer, has reached the playoffs four times but is still looking for his first World Series ring. He averaged roughly 206 innings per season from 2004 through 2011.