High anxiety: Halladay remains a concern on final day of camp

High anxiety: Halladay remains a concern on final day of camp

March 27, 2013, 5:00 pm
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CLEARWATER, Fla. – The Phillies will wrap up the Florida portion of spring training on Thursday.

In nearly seven weeks of camp, they received positive vibes on a number of important fronts, including:

Ryan Howard: Healthy and hitting well.

Domonic Brown: Confident, smoking the ball and headed for a starting job.

Chase Utley: On the field, moving well and heating up.

Mike Adams: Healthy and breezing through innings.

Michael Young: Solid at third base.

Ben Revere: Despite not having pure power, the exciting little centerfielder hits the ball harder than some folks expected.

Entering the last day of camp, there is still one very big unanswered question: Roy Halladay, who makes his final spring start Thursday afternoon in Clearwater.

Halladay, 35, has had a curious spring that has included dead (fatigued) arm, lethargy, a stomach bug, delivery issues and diminished velocity. He has had trouble finding his cutter and has been hit hard recently.

Less than a week before opening day, nobody is sure whether Halladay can be consistently effective again. Halladay himself has acknowledged that he doesn’t have the pop he once did, but he believes he can have success if he concentrates on important standbys such as location, preparation, game plan and mixing pitches.

Time will tell if he’s right.

Halladay’s spring has caused some anxiety within the organization. That anxiety could be eased or heightened depending on his performance Thursday afternoon against the Blue Jays. Halladay faced a Jays’ minor-league club on Saturday and was hit hard. After that game, he said he was working on things, particularly his sinker and cutter, and tinkering with grips. He said he would approach Thursday’s start more like a regular-season game where he mixes pitches, etc. The plan is for Halladay to throw between 90 and 100 pitches, which would put him on target to start in Atlanta next Wednesday night. (That’s the tentative plan, though nothing is official.)

Needless to say, all eyes will be focused on Halladay as camp comes to a close Thursday.

“I just want him to pitch, feel good, throw the ball and see what he’s got,” manager Charlie Manuel said. “I think he’s going to be OK. I always say hitting is a feel thing. Pitching is, too. It’s just a matter of him getting everything together and feeling strong.”

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