What’s up, Doc? Roy Halladay finally has the answer for Phillies

YONG KIM / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Greg Dobbs beats tag by Carlos Ruiz and scores on first-inning triple by Adeiny Hechavarria, who had seven RBI.
YONG KIM / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Greg Dobbs beats tag by Carlos Ruiz and scores on first-inning triple by Adeiny Hechavarria, who had seven RBI.
Posted: May 07, 2013

I CAN'T put any blame on Phillies management for this.

If your two-time Cy Young Award-winning pitcher tells you he feels fine and wants to pitch, you send him out there.

I can't put too much blame on Roy Halladay, because he's a competitor. The reason he has won 201 major league games and a Cy Young in both the National and American leagues is because of his mentality to take the ball when it is his turn and fight through adversity to the bitter end.

Still, there has to be some better means of communication between player and front office.

If your $20 million pitcher feels something is wrong with his shoulder after a start against Pittsburgh on April 24, it can't be two more starts and 17 earned runs before you get the first hint that he has been feeling any discomfort.

Yesterday, after Halladay lasted 2 1/3 innings in a 14-2 loss to Miami, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. was asked if Halladay had informed anyone in management of the discomfort he felt in his right shoulder after the start against the Pirates.

"He did not," Amaro said. "I think he thought it was normal postgame soreness. He had thrown pretty well for a couple of games. He hasn't been on our [internal injury report] for any discomfort. Now he will be."

It's kind of odd when a star pitcher heading to the disabled list for testing is the better of two options. But if Halladay hadn't pitched his last two starts with discomfort, the possible reasons for his disastrous performances could have been more dubious.

There are only two possible reasons Halladay has looked like a Pony League pitcher, going 2-4 with an 8.65 ERA this season: Either he has been hurt or he's shot as a prime-time pitcher.

As long as Halladay was keeping his pain a secret, the more the talk would build that it was the latter. As Amaro said, it is never good to have one of the players you are counting on go on the disabled list, but at least with this revelation there is a tangible reason why Halladay has looked like a shell of the pitcher who won 40 games in his first two seasons as a Phillie.

At least now, there is hope that after a diagnosis this might be something that can be fixed with proper treatment and rehab.

"I thought it was kind of regular soreness," Halladay said after yesterday's outing. "It's kind of progressed over the last 2 weeks or so. It's right shoulder soreness, and I'm going to have it looked at in the next few days.

"Once we get more information back, we'll obviously let people know what's going on."

Actually, when it comes to the Phillies, that's not so obvious.

Last spring, management seemed out of the loop about the problems Chase Utley was having with his knees; Utley then looked like he alone was dictating the terms of his rehabilitation.

It should not happen that Halladay continued to say he was fine physically until he got bombed in two consecutive starts.

Even after yesterday's game, there appeared to be a lack of communication, as manager Charlie Manuel came to his postgame news conference seemingly unaware that Halladay had undergone some tests after he was taken out in the third inning.

At the time, Manuel did not seem to know what Halladay and Amaro were about to tell us.

"We'll always talk to [Halladay], but as long as he feels like he's healthy and can pitch and the doctor says he's healthy, we've kind of got to send him back out there," Manuel said. "After every start, we talk to all the pitchers. That's how it goes.

"[Halladay] just pitched today. I haven't had a chance to see him yet. I've got to come in here and talk to [the media] before I do anything.

"You guys will probably see him before I will."

We did, and we found out something Manuel most assuredly wasn't happy with once he later heard the news.

"We're likely going to have to put him on the [DL]," Amaro said with more certainty than Halladay voiced when asked about the disabled list. "It's a little different than anything [Halladay] has experienced.

"After the game and after the exam, we're probably going to have to DL him. We'll probably have him examined out in California. Until we do some diagnostic work, we won't know exactly what's going on with him. But clearly, he doesn't seem like he's very healthy. It was pretty apparent with his performance today, unfortunately."

We don't know what's wrong with Halladay. We don't know if it is something that can be corrected, enabling him to be an effective pitcher down the road. But at least Halladay finally has spoken up and told the Phillies something isn't right with him physically.

"It's not something that I've had before," he said. "It's something new this year. I felt good all spring. I felt good all year. I just got up after that start against Pittsburgh and had soreness that I haven't been able to get rid of."


Email: smallwj@phillynews.com

Columns: ph.ly/Smallwood

Blog: ph.ly/DNL

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