Ailing Halladay exits in first as Phillies lose to Marlins

Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee talks to Roy Halladay as catcher Carlos Ruiz arrives at the mound in the first inning. (Alan Diaz/AP)
Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee talks to Roy Halladay as catcher Carlos Ruiz arrives at the mound in the first inning. (Alan Diaz/AP)
Posted: September 25, 2013

MIAMI - Rich Dubee waved for help at 7:25 p.m. Monday. Roy Halladay stood on the Marlins Park mound, crimson-faced and sweat-drenched from throwing 16 pitches. His body had failed him for the final time this season.

Halladay disappeared two minutes later into the dugout tunnel, and nothing more is guaranteed.

He recorded one out in a 4-0 loss to Miami; it was the shortest outing of his storied career. He will not pitch again in 2013 because of right arm fatigue. He admitted to recently being diagnosed with a genetic diet-related illness that weakened his fragile state. A free agent at season's end, he may never throw another pitch for the Phillies.

"I was trying to use everything I could to get the ball to the plate," Halladay said

When Halladay exited, he called Neal ElAttrache, the surgeon who operated on his shoulder in May. ElAttrache told Halladay he was surprised his arm did not tire sooner than in his sixth postoperative start. He prescribed at least three weeks of rest.

Halladay will miss his last start Saturday in Atlanta.

He was optimistic because he felt no pain in his shoulder or arm. Manager Ryne Sandberg said Halladay had a "classic dead arm." Sandberg was not aware of his illness. General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. insisted before the game that Halladay was healthy.

The 36-year-old righthander is gaunt. His body is overwhelmed. His shoulder is not strong. He was vague about the condition, saying "some of it is personal."

Halladay has battled various illnesses since spring training, including a recent bout with what was described as "flulike symptoms." He said the season was "stressful." Doctors instructed Halladay to investigate his family history. He began taking medicine for his illness in recent weeks.

"I've never felt like I had to play," Halladay said. "I've always felt like I wanted to play. And that's still how I feel."

The end was not supposed to resemble this. No, not for Roy Halladay. He earned more. He remade himself at age 23, toiled in Canadian obscurity during the best years of his career, and pushed his body to return less than four months after shoulder surgery. He deserved to author his own ending.

"I don't know what the future is going to hold," Halladay said, "but I want to go somewhere that wants me and somewhere that is going to have a shot. I hope that's here. Worst-case scenario, I start throwing and things aren't happening the way they're supposed to, then I'm going to be honest with whoever's interested and make a decision from there."

On Monday, his 41,091st career pitch floated at 76 m.p.h. for ball four. He could not eclipse 83 m.p.h. against the Marlins in 16 pitches, five of which were strikes. Observers winced as Halladay plodded.

"We didn't know what those pitches were," Sandberg said. "Change-ups? We didn't know."

The temperature inside Marlins Park, with the roof closed, was 77 degrees. Halladay wilted.

"We talked a lot about it," Amaro said before the game. "He said he's ready to pitch, and he pitched. He wanted to pitch. We weren't going to hold him back, especially if the doctor said he couldn't do any damage. . . . He's still getting paid, he should pitch."

Amaro said he wanted to retain Halladay but would not say whether he had made an offer.

"I felt an obligation to the organization," the pitcher said. "I really wanted to prove to myself I could do it."

Halladay walked the first batter Monday on four pitches. The fourth hit the backstop. Ed Lucas worked a full count and popped one to Chase Utley in foul territory. Christian Yelich walked on five pitches, and that is when Dubee sensed trouble.

"It's amazing that he's back," Amaro said. "It tells you a lot about the person. He wanted to come out and compete."

Halladay was helpless to control his fate this time. He harbored no regrets when he removed his gray Phillies jersey. There was only sadness.


TROUBLING NUMBERS

83

m.p.h., the top speed of Roy Halladay's 16 pitches on Monday.

1/3

of an inning, the shortest outing of his career.

6.82

Halladay's ERA this season, his highest since 2000.


mgelb@phillynews.com

@magelb

www.inquirer.com/

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