Is it over, Doc?

ASSOCIATED PRESS Roy Halladay uses resin bag during the first inning of the shortest start of his big-league career.
ASSOCIATED PRESS Roy Halladay uses resin bag during the first inning of the shortest start of his big-league career.
Posted: September 25, 2013

MIAMI - Roy Halladay said he lost some weight during his 3-month rehab from shoulder surgery.

He lost another 8 to 10 pounds earlier this month while battling flulike symptoms. The Phillies shuffled their rotation then to give him 7 days between starts as he regained strength.

Six months ago, after a St. Patrick's Day start in spring training was ended after one inning, Halladay left the Carpenter Complex for 2 days. When he came back, he said he lost 10 pounds with a stomach illness.

Last night in Miami, a gaunt Halladay was perspiring heavily two pitches into his sixth start since returning from the disabled list. He didn't look right and he couldn't blame the oppressive Florida sunshine, either - the ballpark's retractable roof was closed on a stormy night.

In the same city where he authored the 20th perfect game in baseball history 3 years earlier, Halladay suffered the shortest start of his major league career in a 4-0 loss to the Miami Marlins.

Halladay was removed after retiring just one of the three batters he faced; he walked the other two. Afterward, he said arm fatigue was the culprit.

With six games remaining in the schedule, Halladay is almost certainly finished pitching in 2013. With his free agency looming, he may have thrown his final pitch in a Phillies uniform, too.

Halladay, who is 4 months removed from shoulder surgery, spoke with Dr. Neal ElAttrache, the doctor who performed the mid-May procedure, following last night's game.

"He said, 'You just need rest,' " Halladay said. "You need 3 weeks or more of rest. After the surgery and the whole process of coming back, I only had 3, 4 [weeks] where I did nothing. He said he was surprised I was going to last this long, that I wasn't going to get tired sooner."

But then there was something else, too. Those ever-present stomach bugs and the weight loss.

"We got it figured out," Halladay said. "Some of it is personal. It's a family history deal . . . related to diet."

After uncovering it earlier this month, Halladay has been taking medication.

"Ever since then," Halladay said, "it's been great."

Although the indoor temperature at first pitch was announced at 77 degrees at 7:12 p.m., Halladay's hat was drenched in sweat as if it were 99 degrees in an outdoor day game. Halladay was out of the game before the clock struck 7:30.

"It was a matter of trying to use everything I could to get the ball over the plate," Halladay said with a self-deprecating chuckle in his sweat-soaked uniform.

Halladay threw 16 total pitches. Only five were recorded as strikes.

Halladay looked fatigued in general, regardless of the strength, or lack thereof, of his surgically repaired right shoulder.

"Physically I feel good," Halladay said. "I think it's really . . . the whole year, it's been stressful, you know? From not knowing what's going on, to surgery, to being away from the team and then being with the team and not being able to contribute, that all weighs on you. I think it's going to be good physically and mentally to get that break."

Since returning from the disabled list last month, Halladay is 2-1 with a 4.55 ERA in six starts. He has allowed 22 hits while walking 19 and striking out 16 in 27 2/3 innings.

When Donovan Solano, the first batter he faced, walked on four pitches, Halladay matched his walk total from the 2011 season. He also walked the third and final batter he faced.

Halladay has walked 36 batters in 62 innings this season. He also walked 36 batters in 2012, when he pitched 156 1/3 innings; in 2011, Halladay walked 35 batters in 233 2/3 innings.

Halladay was uncharacteristically wild from the get-go last night, when each of his first five pitches were out of the strike zone and one bounced off the backstop behind catcher Carlos Ruiz.

"After the first hitter, [pitching coach Rich] Dubee went to the stairs," manager Ryne Sandberg said. "He was on close watch . . . We didn't know what those pitches were. Changeups? We didn't know."

Halladay's velocity topped out at 83 mph.

Just 2 hours before Halladay's most recent attempt to revive his career took an ill-fated turn, the man who brought him to Philadelphia 4 years ago expressed interest in bringing the aging pitcher back in 2014.

"If we can come to some agreement, I'd love to bring him back," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said, before adding that he hadn't had any real discussions. "We'll see what happens . . . All I can say is that I'd love to have him back. There is risk to him, but I think he'll be better.

"With the proper amount of rest this offseason . . . It's hard to crystal-ball it and figure out what kind of pitcher he'll be, but I think he's going to be better than what he is [presently]. This could be all he is, but I think he's going to be better."

It was difficult to feel that way later in the night, when Halladay was joined on the mound by Dubee, Sandberg and assistant athletic trainer Shawn Fcasni just 16 pitches into a start that would go down as the shortest of his 16-year career.

Halladay, however, has no plans to let it be the end of a career that could eventually take him to Cooperstown. He plans to pitch in 2014 and he prefers to pitch in a Phillies uniform.

"I don't know what the future is going to hold, but I want to go somewhere that wants me and somewhere that is going to have a shot [to win]," Halladay said. "Like I've always told you guys, I hope that's here . . . If things go the way that I've been told they're going to go, and the way I expect them to go, I'm going to be competitive next year. I've never given up the hope I could pitch here again. But obviously that's a mutual decision. Fortunately, for a while I get to work out in Clearwater, so they'll get to see me more than anybody."

The Phillies also have seen Halladay more than anyone else in the last 2 years, and perhaps more importantly, in the last 2 months.

Halladay could have simply shut himself down following surgery, of course. But he felt an obligation to finish out his contract and he was driven by his own competitive nature to return this year, too, even if he wasn't 100 percent.

For that, he has no regrets.

"No," he said. "Because after talking to [ElAttrache] it's only going to put me further ahead for next year. Had I had any pain along the process I would have stopped it immediately and made sure that was taken care of. But I never had pain."


On Twitter: @ryanlawrence21

Blog: ph.ly/HighCheese

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