Halladay close to returning to Phils rotation
(Photo: Howard Smith/US Presswire)
(Photo: Howard Smith/US Presswire)

Posted Jul 3, 2012


Roy Halladay is just one of the many pieces to the Phillies puzzle that landed on the DL this season. The good news is that he could be back a little sooner than anticipated.

Charlie Manuel let out an odd chuckle in the visiting manager's office at Marlins Park on Saturday afternoon.

It was either gallows humor or a self-deprecating laugh. But it also kind of summed up the state of his fading, underachieving team.

"When we can't win with (Cliff) Lee and (Cole) Hamels, that kinds of tells you how things are going," Manuel said before chuckling. "I don't mean to laugh. It's definitely not a laughing matter. Believe me, I'm more serious than that. We're trying to turn it around, we're trying to get something going and we can get so close yet we drift back and get so far away."

The Phillies just finished their worst month since September 2000, when Jimmy Rollins made his major league debut. In June 2012, the Phillies lost nine of the 11 game started by either Hamels or Lee.

In the last two weekends, they dropped back-to-back games started by Hamels and Lee, who were both members of the 2011 All-Star team. The good news for the Phillies is the third member of their rotation to go to last year's All-Star Game is eyeing a return shortly after this year's All-Star break.

Roy Halladay, on the disabled list since May 29 with a right lat strain, said he would likely throw an expanded bullpen session in New York this week during the Phillies' three-game series at Citi Field.

Since rebooting his throwing program two weeks ago, including throwing his first bullpen session in more than a month Friday in Miami, Halladay said his shoulder has responded well.

"I've felt really good, don't have any soreness," Halladay said. "It's just a matter of really getting the pitches back up. Get used to throwing off the mound and getting the pitch count built back up."

Halladay threw 33 pitches - fastballs, cutters, curves and changeups - in his side session Friday. He will increase that number in New York and possibly simulate pitching multiple innings, to mimic the up-and-down process of pitching with breaks in between.

Halladay might even forgo an official minor league rehab assignment in his path back to a major league game. He will likely spend the All-Star break in the Clearwater, Fla., area, where he maintains an offseason home and where the Phils have their spring training and minor league facilities.

"A lot of it depends on where I go during the All-Star break, what I can do over that time," Halladay said. "Whether it's throwing in Clearwater, or whatever it may be, I think I'll end up going down there and at least throwing. But I don't know if it's going to be long bullpens or what."

The Phillies will welcome back Halladay with open arms. In the 32 games since he left a game five weeks ago with shoulder soreness, the Phillies' starting rotation has a 5.09 ERA.

"This whole process we've been going day to day, so there's not really like a (target date for his return)," he said. "Everything has gone really good. The next step, we'll go from there. I think that's a good way to approach it. If you get caught up with a set date, and if you're a little more sore than you anticipate, then you get yourself in trouble. I think we'll keep going day to day. I feel good. I haven't been sore yet. We'll keep advancing it and get as close to getting in a game as I can."




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