Speak no evil, hear no evil, feel no evil?
Perhaps that was Roy Halladay’s logic when he took the mound in his last two outings. After allowing nine runs a start and at least eight runs in back-to-back 14-2 losses -- including Sunday’s defeat to the Marlins at Citizens Bank Park -- Halladay finally came clean.
Halladay is hurt and he’s finally mentioning it now.
Halladay says he has a sore right shoulder and will have it examined by renowned orthopedist Dr. Lewis Yocum in Los Angeles this week. As a result, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. says Halladay likely is headed to the disabled list.
“He’s experiencing some shoulder difficulties, some shoulder pain, and we’re likely going to have to put him on the DL,” Amaro said. “[The pain is] a little different than I think Doc has experienced. Up until now, he hasn’t really expressed any discomfort. But today, after the game, it sounds like we’re going to have to go ahead and DL him.”
Strangely, Halladay did not reveal the injury until after he was battered for nine runs on four hits, four walks and two hit batsmen in 2 1/3 innings during the Phillies’ second straight loss to the Marlins on Sunday (see Instant Replay). Amaro says Halladay did not inform the team about his shoulder problems after the game against Pittsburgh, where he first felt the pain, nor did Halladay tell anyone about his shoulder ailment after the loss in Cleveland last Tuesday, when he gave up eight runs on nine hits and two walks in 3 1/3 innings.
Maybe he thought if he kept quiet it would go away? Or maybe Halladay didn’t think he was even hurt in the first place?
“He did not [tell anyone about the injury],” Amaro said. “I think he thought it was just kind of normal postgame soreness. He had thrown pretty well for a couple of games. Again, he hasn’t been on the injury report for any discomfort. Now he will be.”
Halladay allowed just one hit and had eight strikeouts over six innings in that game against Pittsburgh on April 24, when he first felt the pain. That was the last game of a three-game stretch where Halladay pitched very well, allowing four runs and eight hits over 21 innings with 16 strikeouts.
Prior to that, Halladay struggled during his first two starts of the season, taking losses without making it past the fourth inning in either outing. In four of his seven starts this season, Halladay has allowed at least five runs. He’s also the seventh pitcher in team history to give up at least eight runs in back-to-back starts and just the second to do it since 1938.
But the shoulder issue and injuries are nothing new for Halladay. Last season a shoulder injury forced him to miss nearly two months of the season. Compounding matters, Halladay also had trouble during spring training, struggling with his command and stamina. During the exhibition season, though, the bad performances were written off to illness or a lack of fitness.
This time Halladay says he’s hurt.
“I don’t think any of it is good news when one of your very important players is hurt and not able to perform,” Amaro said. “That’s not good news.”
Halladay did not take questions from the media after the game. Instead he offered a rambling explanation about his health, perhaps finally confessing that he may need a little more than some extra workouts or fine tuning.
Worse, Halladay said the pain is such that he never felt before.
“I woke up, didn't really think anything of it, just regular soreness, it just kind of progressed over the last two weeks or so," Halladay said. “It's right shoulder discomfort. I’m going to have it looked at here in the next few days, and once we get information from that we'll obviously let people know what's going on, but it's not something that I had before. It's something new this year.
“I felt good all spring, felt good all year, I just got up after that start in Pittsburgh and had soreness and just wasn't able to get rid of it. Like I said, we'll go to L.A, I think, and get it checked out, do some scans, get [physician Dr. Lewis] Yocum to look at it and update you guys from there.
“But that's really all I have. We don't have a lot of information on it. We did some tests and obviously they are not completely conclusive as to what it is. There's a couple of different options and the scans, MRIs, CTs, that kind of stuff will give us more information from there and we'll address it then. But as far as moving forward, I really don't have too much for you. We'll see how it plays out in the next few days. As soon as I can get in to see him we'll get that done and try to get you guys information as soon as we can.”
It was evident something was wrong early in the game on Sunday. Halladay’s first five pitches were balls and he loaded the bases with just one out without allowing a hit. When the hits came, they were big. Marcell Ozuna hit a bases-loaded double followed by a bases-loaded triple from Adeiny Hechavarria.
Halladay recovered briefly after the triple by retiring the next four hitters he faced, whiffing three straight. But in the third inning, Halladay hit Justin Ruggiano for a second time on a two-strike pitch, walked Ozuna and loaded the bases when Greg Dobbs singled. Though he struck out Miguel Olivo for the first out of the inning, a grand slam by Hechavarria ended Halladay’s afternoon.
By that point manager Charlie Manuel had seen enough.
“I have a hard time watching him struggle,” Manuel said.
It hasn’t been easy for anyone. At age 35, Halladay has a lot of hard innings on the odometer. Sometimes when the end comes for a pitcher like Halladay, it comes quickly. In Phillies’ history, Steve Carlton went from an ace to the waiver wire in a little less than a year. No one wants to remember when Carlton went out pitching for the Giants, Indians, White Sox and Twins in his final three seasons.
The same goes for Hall of Famer Robin Roberts, who went 1-10 in 1961 and then spent the last years of his career bouncing from the Orioles, to the Astros and then the Cubs.
Is the end near for Halladay? Maybe, considering he pitched four innings or less just three times in 90 starts with the Phillies headed into this season. But if he’s healthy, Manuel is going to give him every chance to pitch.
“I think who he is definitely plays a part in it if he’s healthy and he tells us he wants to pitch,” Manuel said. “I’ve had pitchers go through this before. Sometimes they come back and they’re pretty good and sometimes they struggle. This situation is not new to me.”
It is new to Halladay, a pitcher who threw two no-hitters in a season just three years ago. But that’s baseball.
“If the man’s hurt, he’s hurt,” Amaro said. “We’ll have to get well and move forward.”
Speak no evil, hear no evil, feel no evil?