After drawing "filthy" reviews from Torii Hunter and the Detroit Tigers 5 days earlier, Halladay wasn't sharp in his second start of the spring, vs. the New York Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Halladay, who usually has pinpoint control, struggled with command.
"I threw some curveballs for the first time [this spring],"
Halladay said. "The cutter still has a little ways to go. Other than that, I feel good."
The wild pitch was a curveball, a pitch Halladay usually doesn't incorporate into his repertoire until later in the spring. Despite uncorking a wild one and not having his best stuff,
Halladay held the Yankees to one run on three hits - two were infield hits - while striking out three and walking one.
With a month until his first start of the season, Halladay figures he has plenty of time to gain comfort in his curveball and cutter. Halladay, who missed almost 2 months last summer with a right lat injury, feels healthy and that remains the most important news that will come from any of his starts this spring.
"Physically, I feel real good," Halladay said. "Strengthwise, I feel good. Now, it's a matter of a regular spring training, just fine-tuning those pitches and getting comfortable. I have never thrown cutters or curveballs early in spring training. It's normal for me to be mixing them in now and try to get comfortable with it."
Halladay's third start of the spring will be his first in Clearwater: He's scheduled to take the mound on Wednesday, when the Phillies host the defending National League East champion Washington Nationals.
Pap rocked again
The Phillies aren't concerned about Jonathan Papelbon, despite the ugly, early spring results.
After needing 31 pitches to get through his first outing of the spring Monday against Detroit, Papelbon nearly hit the 30-pitch mark again in laboring against the Yankees. He allowed two runs on two hits a walk in the fifth inning.
In two games this spring, Papelbon has allowed eight runs on seven hits and three walks, while striking out four, in 1 2/3 innings.
"I ain't worried about Pap," Manuel said. "He's fine."
Papelbon's next appearance is scheduled for Tuesday, when the Phillies host the Dominican Republic's World Baseball Classic team at Bright House Field.
Boost for Mayberry
Delmon Young is set to see a doctor early next week to get a checkup on his surgically repaired ankle, and Darin Ruf is continuing to learn to play leftfield. When you do the math, it would appear that veteran John Mayberry Jr. stands a very good chance of seeing regular playing time when the season starts next month.
Mayberry highlighted a two-out rally in the third inning of Friday's game when he knocked a two-run single off New York's Joba Chamberlain with the bases loaded. Mayberry is hitting .214 in seven games this spring, but has turned it on in the last 2 days. Mayberry is 2-for-4 with a home run, four RBI, two walks and no strikeouts in back-to-back games against the Yankees and Atlanta Braves.
"When he dropped that ball the other day in rightfield, he went back up [to the plate] and hit a line drive to leftfield," Manuel said. "I think he started getting into it."
In addition to being a suitable option against lefthanded pitchers, Mayberry also holds value as one of the few players in camp capable of playing centerfield.
Domonic Brown was hitless in four trips to the plate, but still managed to be productive: He walked three times and scored two runs. Brown is hitting .385 (5-for-13) with six walks and one strikeout in seven games . . . Righthander Rodrigo Lopez hasn't allowed a run this spring. After throwing three shutout innings Monday against Detroit, Lopez allowed two hits in two shutout innings against the Yankees. Lopez has allowed three hits while striking out four and walking one in five innings . . . Ryan Howard will make his eighth straight start of the spring Saturday when the Phillies play the Toronto Blue Jays at Dunedin. Manuel said Chase Utley would not make the trip . . . Cliff Lee will make his second start Saturday, pitching against new Blue Jay R.A. Dickey.
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