Halladay ‘Very Confident’ He Will Bounce Back
Roy Halladay spoke with reporters for 25 minutes this afternoon at Bright House Field. He revealed that a lower back issue contributed to most of his problems. He said a completely revamped offseason training program has alleviated those issues.
Time will tell.
Here are a few highlights:
Q: How confident are you the issues from last year are behind you and how are you feeling now?
A: I feel really good right now. For me the biggest issue last year was, starting off, I had lower back issues that I really hadn’t dealt with before. It kind of snuck up on me and changed a lot of the things I did mechanically, so, going into this winter that was a focus for us. How do I fix that? How do I make that area stronger and allow me to get back to doing what I do mechanically, so we did a lot of things different. I think the throwing program was different, the lifting program was different. You have to do it over your career. You try to stay ahead of the curve as much as you can. But unfortunately there are things sometimes you have to do differently to change the way you feel. But I feel as good now as I have in any other spring training. Last year, it’s not that I felt bad; it just never seemed to click for me. And the longer it got into the season, I could never really solve the problems I was having. It made it tough. But I feel like the things we’ve done this winter have made a big difference. There is no such thing as a crystal ball. But I’m confident that if I can maintain the way I feel right now, that I’m going to be effective.
Q: Do you expect velocity to come back?
A: I don’t think that is as important to me as when you feel good and you feel comfortable it’s easier to locate. It’s easier to make pitches. For me, whenever I’ve felt really good I’ve had better location. I really haven’t necessarily been throwing harder or anything like that, so the velocity to me isn’t a concern. I don’t know where it’s at. I don’t know where it’s going to be. But as long as I feel like I can easily make pitches to parts of the plate that I want to make it to, I feel like I’m a lot better off than I was. I felt like there were a lot of times last year when I was struggling physically and mechanically to get the balls to the parts of the plate where I wanted it. The velocity I think is always an added bonus. Like I said, I don’t know where it is or where it will be, but if I feel the way I do right now, where if I physically can get the ball where I want to get it to and not have to try to do anything different then I’m a lot better off. … I’m not here to predict anything, but I feel good, if I can feel the way I feel right now and maintain it and get stronger through the course of spring training like you normally do, I feel very confident that I can be effective.
Q: Did last year make you think about your mortality?
A: No. I think any player would honestly tell you you never know. Every year you come into spring training and you come in hoping that you’re going to feel good and hoping that you’re going to be able to pick up where you left off. There’s no guarantees. Any player who has been doing it for a long time goes in just knowing I’m going to pick up where I was. There’s no guarantees. I knew that and I’ve known that my whole career. I felt like ever since I got sent back to A-ball I realized real quickly how fast things can change in this game so I’ve always been aware of that and I’ve always realized that things can change quickly. And I think, that, to me, motivates you to (1) continue to work hard but (2) to continue to find better ways to do things and ways to extend that success. It’s a constant battle to try to extend that. I got my wake-up call a long time ago. It’s always a battle of trying to stay ahead of the curve.
Q: Did you ever have any doubts like, hey, I’ve got a lot of mileage on this arm, I’m turning 36 in May?
A: Nah. I mean, every year you realize that you are a little older and a little slower and the game is getting quicker and guys are getting younger. I’ve felt very fortunate to have played as long as I’ve played. You don’t take days for granted here. I don’t think anybody does. So I’ve never really looked at it that way of what if the better days are behind me. For me, its always looking forward to whats in front of you and whats ahead of you and try to embrace that. There will be a day when whats ahead of me is not baseball and I’m going to try to embrace that. Until you get to that point, you do everything you can to continue to adjust.
Q: Have you had any dialogue with the Phillies regarding a contract?
A: I haven’t. I think all our dialogue right now has been ‘how do we get things going in the direction?’ Really, that was my concern, I know it was their concern and I’m not at all worried about next season. I really am not. I’m worried about this year and making the most of this year and then you go from there. But there has been no dialogue and I don’t expect there to be dialogue. I expect to prepare to go out and do my job and let everything else take care of itself.
Q: Can you envision yourself going through free agency?
A: I really don’t (envision self pitching anywhere). If I had my druithers I would be here until I’m done. As good as they’ve been to me, I think they realize I’d be as good to them as I could be. Going forward, I really don’t see myself playing anywhere else. And I don’t want to play anywhere else. This has been the best place I’ve ever played. Obviously I’ve only played in Toronto, but I’ve gone on the road lot of places and this is the best place I’ve ever played and I don’t want to play anywhere else.”