|Roy Halladay, image- Jay Floyd|
Immediately following an assertion of adoration for fired Phils skipper Charlie Manuel, the 36-year-old hurler told a crowd of reporters that there were issues that had been neglected and he knows that the man who replaced Manuel after nine seasons, Ryne Sandberg, has already begun repairing the problems.
"I've exchanged texts with (Charlie). Obviously, I loved him. He was great," Halladay stated. "But, from what I've seen, you know, Ryne came in and made some changes and addressed some issues that I think were being overlooked, so from that standpoint, as much as I miss Charlie, I think that Ryne's going to do a good job. I think he's gonna bring more of the Phillie baseball style that we've had the last couple years. You know, we haven't really had that whole team effort and the whole team hustle that we had in prior years."
The implication is clearly that Manuel had grown complacent in his position of supervision over the roster. Aside from a lack of hustle, which has long been a concern with certain players on the Phillies, what specifically were the other matters at hand?
"Just different things. Guys being at places on time, being on the field on time. You know, taking ground balls, taking extra BP, all those little things that nobody thinks makes a difference, so I think (Sandberg's) been very good so far, but again I don't want to take anything away from Charlie. He's- we all respected him tremendously and I think he's gonna have the choice of what he wants to do at this point in his life, so I'm happy for him," Halladay said.
In the game, Halladay, who is recovering from shoulder surgery, went six innings against the Nationals affiliate Hagerstown Suns, allowing two runs (one earned) while giving up seven hits, striking out four and issuing three free passes.
The two-time Cy Young Award winner sports a 2-4 record with an 8.65 ERA in seven major league starts this season.
Halladay was asked if he felt like he could make his next start in the big leagues, but he was clear in identifying that it would be up to the organization to assign his next outing.
"That's out of my control. I want to pitch in five days, but (where I pitch is) not my call," Halladay stated.
The veteran of 16 big league seasons was pleased with his effort, despite his ratio of throwing just 52 of his 90 pitches for strikes and mainly clocking at 87 MPH with his fastball throughout the evening. Halladay took a lot of positives out of the performance of his cutter.
"It really did get better from about the fourth/fifth inning on, to where...I was letting the grip do it, instead of trying to create it with my body....I was just working on the grip and getting it moving and it seemed to come around, so I was happy about that."
The plan seems to be for Halladay to pitch again on Sunday. With some struggles to control his offerings in the BlueClaws' 3-2 win over Hagerstown on Tuesday night, it's likely that another minor league rehab outing will be in store for the eight-time All-Star. Double-A Reading and Lakewood play at home that day, while Triple-A Lehigh Valley will be on the road.
More quotes from Halladay-
On if he's given thought to the amount of outings he might need to make in order to put his improved health on display for teams interested in his services in the future:
"I'm fortunate that I've played a long time. I'm not playing for money. I'm not playing for anything else. If I have a situation where I have a chance to win, then I might pay them. I don't know. Fortunately, I don't have to play. I'm playing because I want to play. So, that's a decision that's made after the season."
On his velocity decline:
"I think the older you get, you're not going to gain, so you know, mentally, you have to be smarter and execute better and think a little more. I've had plenty of time to learn and it's, you know, I mean it's slowly decreased over my career. So, it's not a huge deal for me. I know that once you go under 92 to 90-ish, or under 90, it sets off a lot of bells with people, but I feel like I'm comfortable where I'm at, but I also feel like, you know, there's three or four miles an hour that are going to come back."
On his physical comfort level:
"I feel great. I have no soreness. I feel loose going out in between innings. I feel good."