Lack of velocity led to speculation that Halladay was injured.
“It was over dramatized,” Halladay said. “My velocity was down a little. There is nothing wrong with me. If I have an injury, there is no point in me keeping it quiet.
“There is nothing to gain by me keeping an injury a secret. My velocity was 89 m.p.h. down from 91-92. I used to be 96 m.p.h.”
Halladay, who turns 35 in May, and his ERA are reasons for Phillies fans to be worried. The defending National League East champs started the spring worried.
They won’t have first baseman Ryan Howard until May as he recovers from an infection near his left Achilles and all-star second baseman Chase Utley has not played because of a wonky right knee. And third baseman Placido Polanco dove into first base on Saturday afternoon against the Jays injuring his left ring finger.
“Halladay will be fine,” said former Phillies manager Dallas Green. “His delivery has a lot of moving parts, everything has to be right.”
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said he has “zero” concern about Halladay.
Halladay, who earns $20 million US this year as well as the next two seasons, says he will make his next start against the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday at Sarasota.
“When his cab pulls up in front of PNC Stadium in Pittsburgh (April 5) to start the season opener I have no doubt he’ll be ready to go,” said a veteran pro scout behind home plate. “He’s not the first to go through some bumps during the spring and he won’t be the last.”
Some pitchers think they are bullet proof and have been known to try to pitch through injuries.
Including Halladay. In 2004, after lasting only 70 pitches in which his fastball was clocked at 94 m.p.h. against the Texas Rangers, Halladay said he didn’t have pain, but was tired.
Three days later he was on a flight to Birmingham, Ala., to be examined by Dr. James Andrews.
Halladay was diagnosed with a fractured tibia and returned Sept. 22 to make his final three starts.
Pitching coach Gil Patterson was asked in Arlington where exactly Halladay fit amongst pitchers when it came to pain threshold ... low being my ears hurt from the fans booing and high being a guy who never misses a start come bad health or high water.
“My guess? He could break his leg and he’d still try to pitch with the bone sticking out of his leg, that’s how competitive he is, that’s how much he wants to win,” Pattersons said.
This is a more mature Halladay. He’s not 27 any more.
He’s made 352 starts, pitching 2,531 innings in his 14-year career.
Halladay claims it takes longer to get going at his age.
The Phillies, an aging team, don’t have a lot of time to wait.
There are few important dates in the course of each team’s slow, lazy, hazy, days of spring training.
Halladay’s next start will be one.
Prior to former No. 1 draft picks Chris Carpenter of the St. Louis Cardinals and Halladay matching up in the fifth and deciding game of the National League Series, Carpenter joked that the loser would pay for the beer, the bait and the boat on their next fishing trip.
Carpenter won with a complete-game 1-0 gem to help the Cards advance on their way to a World Series victory.
Rafael Furcal led off with a triple to deep right centre and scored on a Skip Schumaker double.
After that it was all zeros.
Carpenter singled off Halladay to lead off the eighth.
And after the two pals flew from Miami to Manaus, Brazil on Miami Air they went fishing in the Amazon.
Carpenter brought up his base hit.
“I didn’t have any comeback for him,” Halladay said. “What could I say?
“Our pitching never came up.”
Ex-Jays reliever B.J. Ryan, accompanied the former Cy Young award winners. Halladay said Ryan and he are still friends from their Jays days and their wives are friends as well.
Skeet Reese, 2009 Bassmaster Classic champion, led the expedition along with Halladay’s brother-in-law Jared Gates, neighbour Jason Roberts, equipment supplier Brian McCoy and a Reese employee. They stayed on the 90-foot boat, which pulled four other boats.
Halladay estimates they caught 1,000 pounds of fish.
So who starter the fishing derby?
“I guess Chris and I caught about 100 pounds each, they don’t have a limit there,” said Halladay. “We caught piranhas and peacock bass, which are like bass on steroids.
“Some are as big as 20 pounds, it took five minutes to get them into the boat.”