Halladay Ready to Protect Hitters

Roy HalladayRoy Halladay finished a lengthy news conference last month at Bright House Field with the following comment:

“I know Chase suggested drilling a few guys this year so I might mix that in.”

He seems to have taken that suggestion to heart. After Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg hit Chase Utley with a pitch on his left foot in the third inning today at Bright House Field, Halladay threw behind Nationals designated hitter Tyler Moore’s back in the fourth inning.

“Yeah, that one slipped a little bit,” said Halladay, easing out a slight smile. “It slipped. That’s not necessarily the case, but I think we do need to protect our guys to an extent. I’m not saying that’s what happened. It slipped, but I think that’s important. We’ve had a lot of guys hit over the years. I think as a staff we need to do a good job of protecting those guys. Spring Training, I don’t think you’re necessarily trying to do it. But it wouldn’t have been the worst thing had it got him after getting one of our good guys.”

The Phillies did not think Strasburg threw at Utley intentionally, but Halladay wanted to let people know in the future he would have his hitters’ backs.

The Nationals seemed puzzled by the gesture.

“Obviously you could tell the conditions weren’t great,” Strasburg said. “I yanked it in there. It’s Spring Training. If you’re going to throw at someone or send a message in Spring Training, go ahead.”

When Nationals manager Davey Johnson asked Moore if there is a history between the two, Moore replied, “There is now.”

The Phillies and Nationals play their first series of the regular season May 24-26 at Nationals Park. It could be a fun one. The Nationals are the defending National League East champions, while the Phillies are trying to get back on top after missing the postseason last year for the first time since 2006.

Utley said afterward he appreciates pitchers protecting the hitters.

“I think we’re all fighting for the same thing,” he said. “We all want to win. I think as a hitter the more uncomfortable you are the more difficult it is to hit. But getting hit is part of the game.”

Added Halladay: “Nobody should ever get hurt. You never want to intentionally hurt guys, but I think there’s definitely a part of the game where you make sure your guys are taken care of, and other teams don’t feel like they can hit them at will … but that’s regular season stuff. … I just think that we have a lot of guys that get hit. And I know our guys are on top of the plate and they’re aggressive. Nobody is ever going to let them be comfortable if they’re going to be right on the plate, but I think there’s definitely a time and a place if our guys are getting beat up for having success, then I think that’s something that should be addressed.”

Utley has been hit a Major League-leading 143 times from 2005-12. Carlos Ruiz is tied for eighth with 32 hit by pitches from 2010-12.

“You’re supposed to take care of your hitters,” Charlie Manuel said. “When he says something like that, I like it. But Roy isn’t a big vocal guy. But he doesn’t have to be, either. He definitely leads by example — the way he carries himself, how he pitches and what he does.”

Utley, who missed the last two springs because of chronically injured knees, remained in the game. He has been healthy all spring.

“Great, he’s been great,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said. “I haven’t heard anything from the trainers about him or the doctors. No news is good news.”

14 Comments

Feisty, I like that. Great pic too.

These comments cement my adoration for this guy as a player and an all around good dude. Pretty much the exact opposite of Delmon Young and his comments today. My loathe for DY has increased three-fold.

I agree 100%… esp. re DY… I just think his signing is a totally BAD IDEA…

Such a great competitor. Doc is a great team player and so happy he is on our team.

I love Doc with all my heart, but he’s such a straight arrow, he can’t even lie well! LOL! Good for him, though! We need to show those Nats we are not to be messed with! If Strasburg is SUCH an Ace, then why’d he hit Chase, esp. in the leg of all places?!

I think it is quite feasible that Strasburg threw at Chase’s knees… Nats have made it plain they are aware that a healthy Phillies team are their biggest threat this year… I think that the Phils should have a really short fuse this year when it comes to beaners going after Chase in particular.

If anyone on the Nationals staff hits Utley in the knees, I will go Tonya Harding on their ass. Then they will have chronic knee problems, too.

lol awesome

At least the Nat who has hit Chase the most (Lannan) is now his teamate.

This whole Phils-nats rivalry makes me laugh. The nats are not worthy to be our rivals. When they can consistently win year after year then it can be one. Their moron owner did that take back the ballpark thing only to fill seats, sadly it worked. He played on the passion of phils fans to fill seats. The nats have been a team that has gone unnoticed until last year. They started this “rivalry” to make money. We are the closest and the biggest so they choose us. They are gnats only until they can prove last year wasn’t a fluke.

Wake up, Kev. The Nationals are the best team in the National League. Stop being a hater and embrace reality.

As much as it pains me to say it, I gotta agree with you. But, the best team isn’t always playing in the fall classic at the end of October. That point was illustrated perfectly in 2011.

If the Phils can make it into the playoffs playing with passion and energy, along with a little luck, we have just as good of a shot as the nationals at winning it all. We have the pitching, barring injuries, and a good mix of wily veterans with playoff experience and energetic youngsters with a hunger for more. If the perfect storm brews in the city of brotherly love at the end of September into October, there isn’t a team that could stop us.

I am not being a “hater” (stupid word btw) I am being realistic. Yes they look like a great team on paper, but lets see consistent results before we hand them the world series

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