Results tagged ‘ Roy Halladay ’
“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.”
“We had no chance,” he said. “It’s like he’s already ready.”
Halladay is far from ready for the 2013 season, but everybody seemed to be heartened with his effort in two innings in his Grapefruit League debut against the Tigers. He allowed one hit, one run and struck out two in two innings with nearly every Phillies front office executive and scout watching from the stands.
“He was filthy,” said Hunter, who struck out swinging on a 1-2 changeup in the first inning. “He’s always filthy to me. I haven’t faced him in a couple years, but he looks good. His fastball was sneaky. He had the ball sinking, cutting. He was in and out of the zone. This is probably his first start, but if he gets better from here he’s scary, which you know he is.”
Halladay threw 22 pitches (16 strikes) and the radar gun had his fastball in the 89-91 range, which seems OK considering it was his first time out.
“It feels a lot freer and easier right now than it did at the end of the season,” Halladay said. “Arm-wise, it’s less effort. My arm is in a better position. Last year, there were times when I felt like I had to throw as hard as I could to make up for the lack of lower half. Especially through my bullpens and the game, I felt like my arm was in a better spot. I didn’t feel like I had to try to throw really hard.”
Hunter described Halladay’s velocity as sneaky. He estimated his fastball at 93, but said it looked like 95. So I guess if the gun read 89-91 it looked 91-93.
“The two-seamer, cutter, hitting the outside corners, he was there,” Hunter said. “He was there. No doubt.”
Halladay is facing Detroit’s ‘A’ lineup (i.e. Torii Hunter, Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, Victor Martinez, etc.) so it will be interesting to see how he does. Of course, Halladay said he is simply interested in improving his command and conditioning. In other words, don’t freak out if he gets knocked around a little bit. (But please feel free to freak out later in the spring if things aren’t going well.)
We’ll obviously have more about Halladay’s start later, but I think it’s imperative we share this critical news: Reporters, broadcasters and PR staff taste-tested potato chips in the Bright House Field press box yesterday. Why did we do this? Uh, because taste tests are awesome, and who wouldn’t want to try Chicken & Waffles potato chips? I thought I’d share to steer you in the right direction, if you were interested.
We voted using an AP-style poll and came up with the following results:
- Chicken & Waffles and Sriracha tied with 33 points.
- Cheesy Garlic Bread finished a distant third with 24.
But based purely on the remaining chips in each of the bags, I’d say Sriracha edged Chicken & Waffles. Sriracha had a nice heat and kick to it. Chicken & Waffles were good because they had the sweet, syrupy flavor mixed well with the salt.
Yes, they’re not Herr’s, but we enjoyed ourselves nonetheless.
Much is made about the Opening Day starter, but the person who might care least about it is Halladay, who has started Opening Day each of the previous three seasons with the Phillies. Cole Hamels is expected to get the nod, although the Phillies have not made an official announcement.
“I think the commitment they made to him last year,” Halladay said referring to Hamels’ six-year, $144 million contract extension, “it’s his time. He’s been here for a long time, he’s had a lot of success here. There aren’t many teams where you have a World Series MVP and then you bring in four to five guys to pitch in front of him. It should have been his spot a long time ago. I think it’s something he’s going to embrace. And really after Opening Day, we’re all five days apart anyway.
“I talked to him about it when we’re going out and doing drills, stuff like that, it’s time for him now to kind of step up and take charge in those situations and establish himself as the head of the staff.”
That’s a pretty significant endorsement from a potential Hall of Famer.
Halladay has bigger fish to fry anyway. He is trying to bounce back from a disappointing 2012. So far he said everything has gone well. He has thrown to live hitters twice, and in each situation he has worked on improving his location.
“I feel good,” he said. “I feel good with where I’m at right now. There’s a long way to go in camp and there’s still a lot of things to accomplish but I’m happy with the way I feel and the way things are going. … I haven’t had a day where I’ve been sore from the core up. Those first couple of days, you’re going to be sore. Your legs will be sore from the drills and stuff, but from the core up I haven’t been sore and that’s a good sign. When you’re trying play catchup early in camp and you’re trying to keep your arm going, that’s the tough part of spring training. If you can avoid that that’s always a good sign, so I feel good going forward.”
Halladay makes his first Grapefruit League start Sunday against the Tigers in Lakeland. He said he will not be worried so much about the hitters as how he feels about his location and conditioning.
“You’re not really throwing your full arsenal,” he said. “What the hitters do isn’t so important to me now. I know what I’m looking for those first couple time outs and that’s my goal to go out and execute the pitches I want to execute and not be overly concerned with the swings and what have you.”
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.”
Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee is one of the few people to see Roy Halladay throw a baseball since last season, when he suffered one of the worst years of his career. Phillies pitchers and catchers reported to camp today in Clearwater, and I had a chance to speak with Dubee for a few minutes about Halladay and the rest of the pitching staff.
Here is what Dubee said about Halladay. Check MLB.com later for more about what he said about the rest of the rotation, the three job openings in the bullpen and more.
Q: You’ve actually seen Roy throw. How has he looked?
A: His spikes are starting to get dirty. That’s all. Really, he’s thrown a couple bullpens.
Q: So you can’t say if he’s better, worse or the same as he was at this time last year?
A: I know he’s talking better. He feels a lot stronger . It’s going to take him a while to put all the pieces together in his delivery like anybody, but that’s what Spring Training is for. So he’s got to find that comfort zone. But as far as his arm feeling well and his strength feeling good, he’s progressed nicely.
Q: You’ve worked with hundreds of pitchers, so you’ve heard plenty of them say how great they feel and how great their rehab or workouts have been only to see them look the same once they start pitching. So why do you believe Roy will be different?
A: I think Doc … we’ve got a pretty good rapport. I think he’s understanding about being honest on where he’s at and what he’s feeling. I think he’s going to lead us in the right direction in how he’s feeling.
Q: Are you confident he can get back to what he was? Or are you as uncertain as anybody else?
A: I don’t know what he’s going to be. I know one thing: there’s going to be an animal on the mound competing. Again, I think all the offseason stuff has put him in a much better position to be who he used to be. Whether he can come all the way back to that, that’s what time will tell.
“That’s the sentiment right now, but that can change in a month as soon as the games are played,” Durbin replied.
Wait for some games to be played. That sounds pretty reasonable. But why be reasonable when it’s more fun to speak in absolutes?
On paper I can’t argue the Phillies are the third-best team in the division. The Nationals won 98 games last season. The Braves won 94. The Phillies won just 81. And while I know the Phillies have been telling everybody they played .600 baseball from July 31 through the end of the regular season, those two teams are in a better position to win (especially the Nationals) while the Phillies have a ton of questions entering camp in a couple weeks:
- Can Roy Halladay bounce back?
- Can Chase Utley stay healthy and produce like a true No. 3 hitter?
- Can Ryan Howard hit left-handed pitching and produce like a $20 million cleanup hitter?
- Can Carlos Ruiz replicate his offensive numbers without the benefits of PEDs?
- Can Michael Young return to form and play third base regularly?
- Can Delmon Young play right field?
- Who in the world is going to play left field?
Those seven questions constitute six of the team’s eight positions in the field, plus its ace. Oof. That’s ugly. And based on e-mails and tweets this offseason, most of you agree. There are a lot of angry, upset, depressed and pessimistic Phillies fans. But relax for a moment. Follow Durbin’s lead and give them until June 1. That’s just two months of baseball. I really don’t see any need to get bent out of shape on Jan. 31. What’s the point? A colleague recalled earlier this week how experts gushed over the Marlins and Angels last winter, annointing them the clear-cut winners of the offseason. Both teams missed the postseason – the Marlins in spectacular fashion — while nearly nobody had the Nationals coming together so quickly, the A’s winning the AL West or the Orioles winning an AL Wild Card.
Another colleague posed an interesting question last week: Do the Braves’ additions of the Upton brothers and Chris Johnson make up for the losses of Chipper Jones, Martin Prado and Michael Bourn? The Braves might lead baseball in five-tool outfielders, but are they so much improved they’re completely uncatchable?
The Phillies need quite a few things to go right this season if they expect to win the division. The odds of that happening are not good. But I don’t think it’s a stretch to see them make the postseason. Their chances might not be as strong as the past few years, but this team is not doomed before camp opens. But that school of thought is not popular. It’s much better to declare clear-cut winners and losers and speak in grand absolutes. Delmong Young? Disaster waiting to happen. Michael Young? He won’t be able to play third base effectively every day. Utley? Can’t stay healthy. Halladay? Too many innings on that right arm.
Those things might end up being completely true. The Phillies might flat-out stink. They were on pace to lose 91 games on July 29. And with a few injuries and their worst fears coming true at a couple other positions, this team could lose 90 games this year. But is it more likely they lose 90 or win 88 and win the second Wild Card? I’d say 88, but I’m going to wait and see. I’m heading to Clearwater in a couple weeks. I’m going to grab some breakfast at Lenny’s, enjoy the sun and watch everything unfold.
It’s not the worst idea in the world. It’s much less stressful, too.
81, which they won last year?
A few things to consider:
- How confident are you Roy Halladay, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard will be healthy and productive? If you are confident, push that number north of 81.
- The Phillies went 36-24 (.600) the final two months of the 2012 season. That translates to 97 victories over a full season. Now, it’s foolish to say the Phillies will win 97 games next season based solely on a strong finish because there are slow starts, injuries, etc., but if you believe the talent on this team will be there (and possibly be improved) over six months in 2013 push that number past 81.
- The Phillies blew 13 leads in the eighth inning last season. If setup man Mike Adams is the guy the Phillies hope he is — he had offseason surgery, remember — you figure he holds at least seven of those games, right? If the Phillies had held just seven of those 13 leads last season they would have won 88 games.
- The Phillies went 10-8 against the Marlins last year. The Marlins should be absolutely dreadful this year. You’ve got to figure the Phillies get an extra win or two from Miami.
Or you could go the other route: this team is another year older, the Phillies haven’t made enough moves to push past the Nationals and Braves, Halladay’s best days are behind him, Utley hasn’t been healthy in years (why should this year be any different?), Howard’s OPS has been in decline since 2009, the corner outfield situation is scary, Carlos Ruiz will miss the first month of the season and who knows how good he will be once he returns, etc.
I’m thinking the Phillies finish in the 86-90 win range. If they finish on the higher end of that they probably make the postseason.
If you don’t think Halladay, Utley and Howard will be healthy and productive, oof, it could be a long season.
But it’s January 9. Who wants to be Debbie Downer today? But it’s at least something fun to think about with pitchers and catchers a little more than a month away.
Here are the highlights:
QUESTION: Are you still searching for a corner outfielder?
ANSWER: As far as the outfield situation is concerned, we’re still trolling through the possibility of adding another piece there. And we’re also considering the possibility of a double platoon. That’s a possibility as well. We’ve done some things that have helped our club at a couple of different levels. I don’t think the process of trying to help improve our club stops until the end of the season. It’s very possible that we have the answers internally. I feel comfortable with the way our club is today and if there’s a way to improve it, we’ll try to do that.
QUESTION: Have an update on Roy Halladay‘s offseason?
ANSWER: Doc’s done very well. He’s going to start throwing off the mound here very shortly. Dubes (Rich Dubee) has seen him throw a couple times, at least long toss. I guess he’s working down there with Kyle Kendrick pretty extensively. He’s doing well, but we don’t know what kind of Doc we’re going to get until Doc’s down firing in spring training. But he’s feeling pretty good so far.
QUESTION: How is Chase Utley doing?
ANSWER: He’s done very well this offseason. (Head athletic trainer) Scott Sheridan’s visited him once and he’s probably going to go see him again. He’s taking ground balls pretty much every other day. He didn’t take a whole lot of time off. One of the things I think we’ve all learned, including Chase, that it probably behooved him to continue to work and do things to be able to keep his joints going, keep his knees going. He’s actually done very well. We have to be cautiously optimistic that he’s going to be back and playing. He hasn’t played games in spring training the last two years, but we’re cautiously optimistic that he’s going to be ready to go. We’ll probably monitor and have a discussion prior to spring training about how he’ll be utilized and such during the spring. I think he’s feeling like he’s raring to go and hopefully he’ll be ready to go April 1.
Halladay suffered the second-shortest start of his career Saturday against the Braves at Citizens Bank Park. He cited spasms in the back of his right shoulder as a culprit, only adding to his list of frustrations this season. But after throwing 32 pitches in a bullpen session today, Rich Dubee pronounced Halladay ready to go.
“Right now, absolutely,” Dubee said. “Unless he has some type of setback, if the spasms came back or whatever. But today was very encouraging.”
Dubee said Halladay, who spent time on the disabled list earlier this season with a strained right latissimus dorsi, looked like a completely different pitcher than the one that lasted just 1 2/3 innings against the Braves.
He reiterated if there is no risk of injury and Halladay wants to pitch, Halladay should pitch.
“This guy is super accountable,” Dubee said. “He feels like he should carry his end of the bargain. And he has. First of all, he came back faster than we expected from the injury with one rehab start. Second of all, there are a lot of guys in this game that wouldn’t have come back as early, if come back, period. They would have just laid down for the year, and this guy wasn’t about to lay down.
“This is the top of accountability. He isn’t happy with his season. He came here to win, and he feels like he didn’t hold up his end of the bargain. I think he’s held up more than his end of the bargain just coming back from the injury that he came back from. But he’s going to do anything he can to come back next year. He is open minded and we’re going to put together a program that hopefully that is going to fix all this.”
Dubee said Halladay had no symptoms of the spasms that derailed him Saturday. He also said it wasn’t the first time he had them this season.
“You guys don’t know half of what goes on,” he said. “He’s fought this from time to time. He’s fought this at different times in his career, too. Why stuff crops up, who knows?”
Dubee said he hasn’t placed Halladay on a pitch count Saturday. Like always, he will let the flow of the game dictate how long he pitches.