Shut Down Doc?
That remains to be seen.
He visited team doctors Friday about “spasms” in the back of his right shoulder, then suffered through the second shortest start of his career Saturday in a loss to Atlanta at Citizens Bank Park. Halladay, 35, is 10-8 with a 4.40 ERA in 24 starts this season. It is his highest ERA since he finished with a 10.64 ERA in 2000.
Halladay visited doctors again Sunday, and Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Monday afternoon that “after the last exam it seemed like he’s OK for his next start. That may change.”
Amaro said there are no further test scheduled.
“He seems to be doing OK,” he said. “If anything were to change, the doctors would give us anything or Doc would give us anything, then we’ll let you know.”
There are two schools of thought on Halladay making his final two starts:
- If there is no risk of injury and Halladay wants to pitch, let him. He has earned the right. And also consider this: who would pitch in his place? They really have nobody with their Minor League seasons ending weeks ago, unless they want to use the bullpen in those starts.
- Even if there is no risk of injury, maybe he should get a jumpstart on 2013 because there is little left to play for. The Phillies are five games behind the St. Louis Cardinals for the second National League Wild Card with just nine games to play. Even if the Phillies finished 9-0, they would need the Cardinals to finish no better than 2-7 to tie.
Amaro declined to discuss the positives and negatives about Halladay finishing the season on the mound or in the dugout.
“We haven’t discussed it internally yet, but we’ll see,” Amaro said.
But looking ahead, there will be less certainty regarding the Phillies’ rotation entering Spring Training than there has been in the recent past. In 2011, the Phillies had the four aces (Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt). In Spring Training 2012, there was no reason not to believe Halladay, Lee, Hamels and Vance Worley would not deliver the organization its sixth consecutive trip to the postseason.
But as Amaro begins his offseason to-do list, he seems pretty comfortable with his rotation.
“I like our rotation coming into next year, barring any other issues,” he said. “I like our top four or five guys coming in and we have a lot more depth coming from below. I like our situation a lot as far as our starters are concerned, yeah.”
Worley had surgery recently to remove a loose body and spur from his right elbow. He should be ready to go by Spring Training. Kyle Kendrick is 6-2 with a 2.17 ERA in his last eight starts. He is a heavy favorite for the fourth or fifth spot in the rotation.
“He hasn’t done anything to make us think otherwise,” Amaro said. “He’s pitched very, very well over the last half of the year. Certainly he’s a guy that if you look around, I don’t know if there are many better fourth or fifth starters in the league.”
But what about Doc?
Can he rebound? Or is there just too much mileage on that right arm?
Amaro said he is confident a revamped offseason workout program will get Halladay back on track.
“Yeah, I think we can assume that,” he said. “Knowing the way Roy goes about his business and some of the things that he may be able to do, I think the benefit of Roy is even if he’s not back to throwing 92 to 95, that he’s still going to be a top of the rotation pitcher, regardless.”