Sunday, March 27, 2011
Posted: 5:26 p.m.By Jim SalisburyCSNPhilly.com
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. Some veteran players struggle to stir up their adrenaline in spring training.
Not Roy Halladay. Even after more than a decade in the majors, seven all-star selections and a pair of Cy Young awards, Halladay approaches every pitch as if it were the most important hes ever thrown.
Even in spring training.
We were reminded of this as Halladay made his final start of the spring Sunday afternoon against the Atlanta Braves. The righthander was working on Nate McLouth with two outs in the bottom of the third inning. Halladay thought hed thrown a strike to McLouth but umpire Art Thigpen called it a ball. The pitcher glared in at Thigpen. Next pitch, same thing.
Halladay eventually got McLouth to ground to shortstop for the final out of his three-inning tune-up. The aces next start comes Friday in the season opener against Houston at Citizens Bank Park.
If Sundays performance three shutout innings, two hits, no walks, three strikeouts didnt show that Halladay was ready to go, then that angry look he gave the umpire did.
Halladay laughed about the look he gave the umpire. But it showed how intense this guy is even in a game that doesnt count.
Geez, you want to compete, he said. As a pitcher, we want all the pitches we throw to be strikes.
The Phillies won the game, 6-1. Raul Ibanez and Ryan Howard homered. Halladay drove in a pair of runs with a bases-loaded single with two outs in the second.
Halladay finished the spring 4-0 with a 0.42 ERA in five starts. In 24 23 innings of Grapefruit League action, he allowed just 16 hits and one run while striking out 19 and walking six.
I feel good, Halladay said. I feel ready. Im happy where everything is and Im anxious to get going.
The National League should consider itself forewarned.
Especially the NL East.
Halladay went 14-1 with a 1.61 ERA against the division last season. He was 3-0 with a 1.44 ERA in three starts against Atlanta.
As planned, Halladay was held to three innings as he tapered down for opening day. He will face former Phillie Brett Myers in that game. It will be Halladays ninth straight opening day start and second with the Phillies.
Really, based on what guys in the Phillies rotation have done in their careers, it could be a coin flip, he said. I guess winning the Cy Young the year before helps you get out there, but its not an ego thing for me. I couldnt care less if Im Day 1 or Day 5, especially when you have these guys around you. You just always look forward to your day.
A preparation freak, Halladay began going over the Astros lineup and watching video of some of their hitters days ago. Hell ratchet up his preparation when the Phils get settled at home on Tuesday.
For any player, the days before opening day are like Christmas week for a child.
You definitely anticipate starting the season, Halladay said. Sometimes you almost have to be a little cautious and not make too big a deal out of it. But Im always excited. You put in a lot of work over the winter and in spring training. To be able to actually put it to use is kind of a relief.
In a spring where injuries hit the Phillies hard second baseman Chase Utley and closer Brad Lidge will begin the season on the disabled list Halladay was as efficient as expected. He believes all of his pitches are sharp. Hes ready and he says the team is, too.
Theres not a lot you can do about injuries, he said. There are a lot of guys that obviously were going to miss and would make us a better team, but all you can do is continue to play. We all still feel we have a very good team. Well continue to play and hopefully they will get healthy soon.
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