WASHINGTON, D.C. ó Among pitchers, Roy Halladay ranks with the gameís best.
With a bat in his hand, he slides to the other end of the scale.
Hitting, though, is very much a part of the game in the National League and with his ability to pitch deep into games, Halladay should finish his season with well over 100 plate appearances.
In his National League debut Monday, Halladay was 1-for-4, an infield single that drove in a run in their five-run fourth. It was more of a swinging bunt as Halladay took a full rip, nicked the ball, and had it dribble up the third-base line.
Washington pitcher John Lannan could do little more than race in and flip it with his glove towards the plate, too late to stop Raul Ibanez from scoring. In his first at-bat he dropped a bunt down about four feet from the plate and didnít advance the runner, who was cut down at second. In the sixth he fouled three bunt attempts to strike out and in the seventh swung and hit another nubber and was thrown out at first by the catcher.
Halladay came into the game with a career average of .079, three singles and one RBI in 38 at-bats.
ďIím kind of glad to have it over,Ē he said of his hitting misadventures. ďItís funny, I didnít have one chance to bunt in spring training and the first guy you get is throwing all cutters.
ďItís different but I look forward to it. Itís something that I feel like I can get a lot better at. Itís definitely a different part of the game and you have to pay attention when youíre up and hopefully do your job.Ē
Halladay didnít think it was a big distraction either given that he didnít have to hit in the American League.
ďI donít think so,Ē he replied when asked if it took away from his focus. ďItís one-step-at-a-time type of thing. I didnít feel like it distracted me at all.Ē