Phillies' Roy Halladay says he's on the mend after stomach bug

Posted: March 21, 2013

CLEARWATER, Fla. - Roy Halladay entered the home clubhouse at Bright House Field on Tuesday morning and sat at his locker, less than 3 feet from Cliff Lee.

That was the first good sign for concerned fans back home. If he was still ill and contagious, as the team said he was a day earlier, Halladay was not going to jeopardize another member of the rotation.

The second positive sign came about 3 hours later when Halladay sat at a table in the middle of the same room and had a cup of soup.

"My stomach is a lot better," he said a few minutes later. "I'm a little bit weak and jittery right now, I guess from not eating, and passing a lot of fluids and stuff. I feel better."

Halladay said he lost 10 pounds since exiting Sunday's start against the Baltimore Orioles after only one inning because of a stomach illness.

After leaving the ballpark early on Monday, too, Halladay played long toss on Tuesday and plans to throw a side bullpen session on Wednesday, as long as he feels strong enough to do so. If all goes according to plan, Halladay won't miss a turn in the spring rotation, taking the ball on Saturday against the Orioles in Sarasota.

And if he pitches Saturday, Halladay said he's confident he'll be ready to make his first regular-season start, too, which would likely come on April 3 in Atlanta.

"I think that, if from today on I continue to get stronger and stronger each day, I'll be fine," he said. "If I can go out and throw 75 pitches in my next - the time before [my last one] I got to 71 and had no soreness at all - I think 75 is realistic. And the time after that, if I get to 90 or a couple over 90, then it's easy to go 105, 110 pitches or whatever."

Of course, the coaching staff and management also would like to see Halladay look effective, in addition to strong and healthy, before they break camp, too. Halladay was eager to do the same, and felt as if he was making progress in his first side bullpen session after allowing seven runs on six hits and four walks against Detroit on March 12.

"I felt really good about it after my last bullpen and felt good about it after my warmup," Halladay said, "so I really wanted to see where it was at in the game, and I got to see a little bit, but not as much as I wanted to. I feel like it's there, I feel like I've made the strides that I need to make, but just really haven't gotten to test it. That was really the most disappointing thing about it.

"I told Ruben that night, as sick as I felt on the mound, I almost feel worse because I didn't get to see the results that I wanted to see. I guess you just have to be patient and let it do its thing. There are things that you can control, and you worry about that. I'm going to continue to worry about what I can control and do as much as I can to be as effective and as good as I can be [for the start of the season]."

Rollins back on field

Charlie Manuel had Jimmy Rollins available to him for the first time since his longtime leadoff hitter left for the World Baseball Classic. Rollins made his first start for the Phillies since March 1.

Asked about the configuration of his regular lineup once games begin, the manager wouldn't commit to anything in particular, but did say he'd probably rotate the top two spots between Rollins and Ben Revere.

"I will hit them first and second see how we look," Manuel said. "Hit Rollins second sometimes, Ben first; Rollins first, Ben second. We'll see. We're not going to line up all of our lefties, because in the season, we're going to see better lefthanded pitchers . . . I don't think we can afford to hang five lefties in a row."

Two of those lefties had productive days on Tuesday: Ryan Howard and Domonic Brown both homered. Brown's was his team-leading sixth of the spring and second in as many days. Howard's was his fifth, and second off a lefthander.

Howard is hitting .400 (8-for-20) with a 1.164 OPS against lefthanders this spring.

"He's been staying in better, staying in the middle of the field against them, and that's been good," Manuel said. "He's been staying on the ball, much better, following the ball. He hasn't been missing them by three feet."

Howard hit .173 with 45 strikeouts in 106 plate appearances vs. lefthanders in 2012.

Kendrick stays strong

Kyle Kendrick continued his quietly productive spring on Tuesday. He allowed one unearned run on two hits in six innings.

"It's the best I've felt all spring," he said.

Kendrick, 28, struck out three while walking one. He also saved his teeth when Corban Joseph ripped a line drive back at him in the third inning.

"I think it was going at my face . . . I'm glad it hit my glove," said Kendrick, who snared the line drive in self-defense. "It wasn't a bad pitch; a fast sinker. It was coming back in and the kid put a good swing on it. I was able to put my glove up. Thank God."

Phillers

Jonathan Papelbon returned to the mound after being scratched Sunday with a stomach virus for the second time this spring. Papelbon induced three consecutive flyouts in a 1-2-3 eighth inning against the Yankees. Papelbon has reeled off three straight scoreless appearances since allowing eight runs in his first two outings . . . Righthander Rodrigo Lopez was reassigned to minor league camp on Tuesday morning. Lopez allowed seven runs on eight hits in two innings of a 17-10 loss to Atlanta on Monday. Lopez, 37, can opt out of his deal on June 1 if he's not on the major league roster and another team wants to give him a big-league opportunity . . . The Phillies have a scheduled off day on Wednesday, their final break before they arrive in Atlanta on March 31, the day before the season opener at Turner Field.


On Twitter: @ryanlawrence21

Blog: philly.com/HighCheese

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