Phillies Notes: Roy Halladay's streak of opening-day starts likely to end

Roy Halladay (left) has pitched opening day since 2002. Cole Hamels has never pitched an opener.
Roy Halladay (left) has pitched opening day since 2002. Cole Hamels has never pitched an opener. (YONG KIM / Staff)
Posted: February 21, 2013

CLEARWATER, Fla. - Pitching coach Rich Dubee is not ready to announce the Phillies' opening-day starter in Atlanta. But reading between the lines, it's clear that the decision is down to Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee.

That means someone other than Roy Halladay will be the opening-day starter for the Phillies for the first time since the team acquired the two-time Cy Young Award winner from Toronto before the 2010 season.

"I think it's how we line up best," Dubee said. "Realistically, we could pitch anybody the first day as far as Doc, Cole, and Cliff. On most staffs, they are No. 1 starters, so they all could pitch opening day. But part of what we're thinking is trying to split those two lefties. Last year we started with two lefties [after Halladay], and I'd just like to split them up."

That scenario would probably place Halladay on the mound for the second game of the season-opening series against the Braves. It would mark the first time since 2002 that he did not make an opening-day start.

The Phillies are 3-0 in Halladay's opening-day starts.

Dubee does not believe Halladay will have any objection to the end of his 10-year streak as an opening-day starter.

"I think those three guys we are talking about, they just want to pitch," Dubee said. "It's an honor to pitch opening day, but I think they've all done it in the past . . . so it's not like it would be their first time."

Actually, if Hamels ends up being the opening-day starter, it would be his first time.

Hamels has a career record of 12-7 with a 3.58 ERA against Atlanta and was 1-1 with a 2.77 ERA last season. Lee is 4-4 with a 3.08 ERA against the Braves and was 1-1 with a 0.60 ERA last season.

Halladay had a miserable time against the Braves last season, going 0-2 with an 11.21 ERA in four starts.

Frandsen still grateful. Infielder Kevin Frandsen entered 2012 on uncertain terms with an organization that barely knew him.

"I'm not a superstar," Frandsen said. "I'll always be grateful for that opportunity."

That opportunity was 55 games (49 starts) and 210 plate appearances with the 2012 Phillies. Frandsen hit .338 and endeared himself to the front office, which rewarded him with an $850,000 contract and an all-but-guaranteed roster spot.

Frandsen has no options remaining, which means he must pass through waivers to reach the minors, so it's unlikely the Phillies will send him down. So far this year, Frandsen has taken most of his infield work at second base, which is his natural position. He made all of his starts in 2012 at third.

Extra bases. Mike Stutes, who has not faced a hitter in 10 months because of shoulder surgery, threw on Tuesday. "I felt good," said Stutes, who will have to fight for a roster spot in a crowded bullpen. "My shoulder didn't get tired at all." . . . The first Phillies injury this season (albeit minor): Sebastian Valle, a catching prospect, fractured his right (throwing) ring finger. He continued to participate in drills.