There were ups and downs for Halladay during a 6-2 loss to the Braves. He lasted six innings and could have pitched deeper had he not been removed for a pinch-hitter in a tight game.
Halladay said that he had implemented mechanical changes before this start. They were evident when he retired the final 10 batters he faced Sunday. But the entire body of work demonstrates there is still room for improvement.
"I had gotten into some bad habits, arm-slot wise," Halladay said. "I was a little low and side-to-side. I'm trying to get more top-to-bottom with it. That probably will affect the cutter more than anything and the curveball, too. I sort of started getting underneath the ball. Sometimes your body makes you do things to be comfortable."
Scouts had spoken of Halladay's altered motion, which apparently was caused by the pain in his shoulder, since spring training.
"I finally saw it," Halladay said. "I really didn't see it for a while."
His velocity remained lower than usual.
"You know what? I'm beyond the velocity thing," Halladay said. "Any time you change something, being able to do something and repeat it consistently, that is what takes some time."
Manager Charlie Manuel did not rule out eventually shutting down Halladay as the games become meaningless.
"The way baseball is nowadays, that could come up," Manuel said. "I'm not saying that wouldn't be the right thing to do. He's building back up. He was out seven weeks. He's building back up to where it was. It's taking him a while."
Hunter Pence was not in Manuel's lineup for only the second time this season and the first time since April 23. The manager wanted Pence to rest for a day, and it just so happened to come with the trade deadline 48 hours away.
He pinch-hit in the sixth inning and singled in both of his at-bats Sunday.
Though his name has surfaced in rumors, the Phillies are not willing to deal Pence unless they are blown away by a package of top prospects. Remember, they surrendered three top-10 prospects to fetch Pence a year ago. Settling for a much smaller return would be an embarrassing admission of failure.
Before Sunday, Pence was nine for his last 59 (.153), with 18 strikeouts and one extra-base hit.
Kevin Frandsen started at third base and went 2 for 3 in his first major-league game since Sept. 26, 2010. Frandsen was the 40th player used by the Phillies in 2012. They used 42 during all of 2011, and five were merely September call-ups. . . . Righthander Shane Watson, the Phillies' first pick in June's draft, will make his professional debut this week with the Gulf Coast League Phillies. Despite signing in mid-June, he was held back because of an undisclosed injury.
Contact Matt Gelb at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow on Twitter @magelb.