Later Halladay had the best comeback saying: “The only deal I’ve turned down is to pitch for the NL.”
On Monday, after San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy named Halladay to start for the NL, the No. 1 question was whether he would pitch one inning or two. Philadelphia Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee would prefer that he goes only one inning.
“Two years ago there were a lot of tough questions,” Halladay told reporters Monday, as he had been freshly meat placed on the trade market by then-Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi. “With all that was going on, I’m looking forward to this start.”
Bochy phoned NL vice president Katy Feeney after the Giants game ended Sunday night and Feeney phoned Halladay in his room with news he was starting.
Halladay said he was uncertain Monday afternoon whether he would go one or two innings.
The former Blue Jay now pitches for the Phillies, the club with the best record in baseball.
“Maybe we can minimize the pitch count or if I go a little longer, maybe we can take care of things on the back end,” Halladay said.
He’s looking forward to facing Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista, the leading vote-getter for the all-star game, who will hit cleanup in Ron Washington’s spot in the AL order behind Curtis Granderson, Asdrubal Cabrera and Adrian Gonzalez.
“That’s great for Jose, good for the Toronto fans and fans around baseball that they gave Jose the most votes,” Halladay said. “I think it’s great for the organization as well.”
Halladay will oppose American League starter Jared Weaver.
“When you talk about guys you want to start if you have one game to win, Halladay’s at the top of that list,” Bochy told reporters.
With the Phillies having 57 wins so far, the outcome of the all-star game — to the winning league goes home-field advantage in the World Series — is an important outing for the likes of Halladay and teammates Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and infielder Placido Polanco.
“The results have been favorable the last year years,” Halladay said. “Hopefully we get a chance to take advantage of that.”
The Giants won the World Series a year ago with home-field advantage, as did the New York Yankees in 2009 and the Boston Red Sox did in 2007.
Halladay has an 11-3 record with a 2.45 ERA over his first 19 starts. He has not lost a baseball game in nearly two months — a 3-2 decision to the Atlanta Braves on May 15.
“I think you’re always excited to be involved and be a part (of the all-star game),” Halladay said. “Obviously as players we want to win games, but you’re always trying to keep the best interest of the game in mind. This is a great chance to do that, and to showcase baseball all over the world.”