Roy Halladay to start Saturday in minor-league game

Roy Halladay to start Saturday in minor-league game

March 20, 2013, 3:30 pm
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CLEARWATER, Fla. – The Phillies will travel to Sarasota to play the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday, but the main event that day will happen back at the team’s minor-league complex in Clearwater.

Roy Halladay, weakened by a stomach bug, was able to throw his between-starts bullpen session as planned Wednesday. That puts him in line to make his regular start on Saturday, but it will come in a minor-league game at Carpenter Complex.

Halladay had to leave his last start Sunday after one inning because he was ill. It makes sense to have him make his next start at home, where the Phillies have their facilities, just in case he encounters any problems.

While the bulk of the team enjoyed an off day from Grapefruit League action on Wednesday, Halladay threw a private bullpen session under the watchful eye of pitching coach Rich Dubee.

“Roy threw very well,” Dubee said through a team spokesman. “He lost almost 10 pounds, so he’s just got to gain some weight back and gain his strength.”

Halladay has time to make two more starts in Florida. He believes that will give him enough time to be ready to make his first regular-season start during the first week of April. He hopes to get to 75 pitches on Saturday and 90 in his final start of the spring next week. That, he believes, will prepare him to break 100 in his first start of the regular season.

Halladay has been a focus of camp. The 35-year-old righthander is coming off a disappointing 2012 season in which he spent seven weeks on the disabled list. This spring, he has lacked velocity on his fastball, leading to speculation that he might be hurt. He and Phillies officials insist he is not.

On Thursday night

The Phillies travel to Fort Myers for a game against the Red Sox on Thursday night. Cole Hamels will make the start. His turn to pitch would come up again on Tuesday. That would be his final start before his opening day assignment against Atlanta.

Roster decisions

The Phillies have eight more days left in Florida and several roster decisions to make. One of them will come down Sunday when the team is contractually obligated to tell infielder Yuniesky Betancourt whether he will be on the 25-man roster. Betancourt is competing with Kevin Frandsen and Freddy Galvis for one of what appears to be two utility infield openings. He is hitting .450 (18 for 40) this spring. He can become a free agent if the Phils don’t add him to the roster Sunday.

Phillies officials would like to retain Betancourt as infield insurance, but it would be difficult to convince him to go to Triple A because there are teams, such as St. Louis, that are looking for big-league infield depth. The Phils could open a spot for Betancourt by sending Galvis to Triple A, but manager Charlie Manuel has been adamant about keeping Galvis on the big-league roster.

Over the final week of camp, the Phils also have to decide the makeup of their outfield. Darin Ruf and Rule 5 pick Ender Inciarte appear to be vying for the fifth outfield job.

In the bullpen, Jonathan Papelbon, Mike Adams, Antonio Bastardo and Chad Durbin are locks for jobs and lefty Jeremy Horst looks pretty close to a sure thing, as well. That leaves Phillippe Aumont, Mike Stutes and Raul Valdes in contest for the final two spots.

Aaron Cook could have an outside chance at a bullpen job, but the Phils might be better served paying the veteran righthander a $100,000 retention bonus and sending him to Triple A where he could remain stretched out as a starter in case a need arises in Philadelphia.

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