If there were any encouraging developments to take from the Phillies’ weekend series in New York – other than not losing ground on first place in the NL East despite dropping two of three to the Mets – it was a bullpen session. Specifically it was Roy Halladay’s bullpen session, the first of its kind since the two-time Cy Young Award winner underwent surgery on May 15.
After a round of long toss in the outfield, Halladay stepped into the Citi Field bullpen where he threw 20 pitches prior to Sunday’s game. While Doc’s return is still far from imminent – in a recent update, Phils general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said “by September” – throwing off of the mound for the first time is considered a major step in his rehabilitation.
Halladay had little to articulate himself, but pitching coach Rich Dubee seemed enthusiastic. Jim Salisbury has more:
“This is just the next phase,” Dubee said. “He did fine. He’s right on schedule.”
The pitcher’s velocity was not measured.
“I’m not looking at velocity at all,” Dubee said. “I’m looking at his arm path and making sure he can get his arm up to where it needs to be. Ever since Day 1, it has been very encouraging because his range of motion has been phenomenal. His arm slot is closer to where it was in 2010. It’s probably a good eight to 12 inches higher.”
Dubee said Halladay would throw another bullpen in a few days, depending on how he feels.
What Halladay will be returning to continues to be the elephant in the room. The Fightins came out of the All-Star break swinging, putting 13 runs on the board in a win on Friday, only to lose a winnable game on Saturday before running into the Matt Harvey buzz saw in the finale. Philadelphia falls back below .500, but since the Braves fell 2-1 in their series with the White Sox, are no worse off for it as far as the division race is concerned.
In other words, we’re not sure Amaro is any closer to knowing whether he has a buyer or seller. Either way, at least we should have Doc.