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  Tue, July 20, 2004


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Halladay put on the shelf
Blue Jays ace will be out four-to-six weeks with a 'tired' shoulder
By BOB ELLIOTT -- Toronto Sun

Orlando Hudson sat at his locker, his head in his hands.

The Jays second baseman had just been told that Roy Halladay would be shut down for four-to-six weeks.

Hudson was speechless for the first time since we met him as a minor leaguer in 2000.

He shook his head and sat motionless. Hudson rolled his head as if doing a neck curl, raised his right eyebrow and shook his head again, not moving from his stool in the visiting clubhouse before last night's game at Networks Associates Coliseum in Oakland.

"That hurts," Hudson finally said. "That really hurts.

"That's our ace. He's our big dog, our donkey, he's the leader of the pack, he's our Rudolph, he pulls our sleigh," Hudson said back on his normal pitty-patter of chatter.

"This hurts the team and it hurts me, I'm going to miss him. I feel bad for him, I know how hard he worked."

Hudson said he was glad that Halladay, examined by Dr. James Andrews yesterday in Birmingham, Ala., did not need surgery.

Andrews didn't find any structural damage with Halladay's right shoulder. He didn't find any tears or slap lesions on the labrum. Dr. Andrews said Halladay had a "tired" shoulder and prescribed rest for Halladay.

He will stay at home in Florida and rehab under the supervision of Jay Inouye, minor-league training co-ordinator.

Pat Hentgen will start tomorrow night for the Jays at Yankee Stadium. Hentgen was bumped to the bullpen after a bad outing against the Montreal Expos on June 27. He made 15 starts.

Next step if Hentgen falters? Well, David Bush already is here. Dustin McGowan and Jason Arnold are injured. Frankly, the cupboard is bare.

"Can this season get any tougher?" asked first baseman Carlos Delgado.

"Considering the alternative, I'm glad (Roy) didn't need surgery, but it's bad news" Delgado said. "We can't make excuses and hang our heads.

"It's hard to replace him, when he starts you know he's going to give you seven, eight innings every time out, every five days. Someone has to step up. Guys like him are almost impossible to replace."

The Jays entered play last night against the Oakland A's 13 games under .500. They haven't hit (10th in on-base percentage, 11th in runs scored and 13th in homers). They haven't pitched (ninth in team earned-run average).

They have been hurt, Halladay being the latest to head to the disabled list, as Vernon Wells, Frank Catalanotto and Delgado were.

"It's not just injuries, we haven't lived up to our billing, done what we were supposed to do and I'm as guilty as anyone," Delgado said. "The frustrating thing coming out of the spring was that we had good expectations."

Great Expectations have turned into great disappointments and Charles Dickens would be rolling over to hear his novel used with this bunch.

"We have 2 1/2 months left," Delgado said, "there is still a lot of season left."

In the bright sunshine of northern California it was easy to wonder at the beauty of the hills. The Jays still could remember Sunday night's 7-5 horror show against the first-place Texas Rangers.

Miguel Batista was six outs away from a 5-1 win. Then he walked Gary Matthews, Rod Barajas doubled and Delgado clanked a Laynce Nix grounder.

"I should have charged it, I didn't and I wound up with an in-between hop," Delgado said. "Make a mistake like that and no one in the stadium feels worse than you do."

Michael Young followed with a run-scoring double. Reliever Vinnie Chulk issued a two-out walk and Mark Teixeira hit a grand slam.

"When things are going good for a team like the Rangers ...," Delgado said. He didn't have to say when things are going bad for a team like the Jays.