PHOENIX The Phillies have not announced their complete starting pitching rotation for after the All-Star break, but Roy Halladays being named National League starter for Tuesday nights All-Star Game almost certainly means he will not pitch this weekend in New York.
Vance Worley will pitch Friday night against the Mets. Cole Hamels will start on Saturday afternoon and Cliff Lee lines up to pitch Sunday.
That will leave Halladay to pitch either Monday or next Tuesday against the Cubs in Wrigley Field. The decision on which day will likely be based on how much Halladay pitches in the All-Star Game.
National League manager Bruce Bochy said he expected Halladay to go at least a couple of innings. Though Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee has expressed reservations about Halladay pitching, Bochy said he has received no restrictions from the Phillies on how to use Halladay. There is always a lot of hand-wringing about Halladays workload he leads the NL in innings (143 13) and pitches thrown (2,148) but heres one thing to remember: He is one of the smartest people in the game and he would do not anything in an All-Star Game that might jeopardize his chances of making the postseason with the Phillies. If Halladay goes two innings Tuesday night, its conceivable that he could have a week off before his next start.
Feeling fresh in the second half is most important, Halladay said. Thats still the goal. If I were to go a little longer pitch count-wise than we wanted wed take care of that on the back end after the break. Im hoping to keep it economical and have it be a non-issue.
Halladay spoke to Dubee about his situation and where he falls in the rotation after the All-Star break.
We didnt get too far into it, Halladay said. But the second day in Chicago would be an option, too. As long as we handle it OK on the back end we should be fine.
Halladay has won the Cy Young award in both leagues. He will join Roger Clemens, Vida Blue and Randy Johnson as pitchers to start the All-Star Game for both leagues. He started in 2009 for the American League. That start coincided with Torontos putting the right-hander on the trading block, a move Halladay pushed for because he wanted to join a contender.
The last time there was a lot of focus not so much on the game but on what was going on at that point in my career, Halladay said. Im looking forward to just going out and having this be an All-Star Game and enjoying it. There were some tough questions from reporters when you come from an organization that you enjoyed playing for and you want to go play for a championship. Those are a lot of tough questions to answer.
Lee endorses Halladay
Lee, Halladays rotation mate in Philadelphia, believes Bochy made the right choice for NL starting pitcher.
Hes the perfect physical specimen to be a starting pitcher, Lee said of Halladay. His work ethic, his mindset. He equips himself to be the best.
Hes the best pitcher in baseball. If I were to pick a starting pitcher to win one game hes the one Id pick. Hes deserving of it. I expect to see him put up a couple of zeroes.
Players from both teams were required to take part in news conferences Monday. One reporter asked Lee if he would say, I love baseball in Chinese. With a little help from the reporter, Lee obliged. The reporter then asked Lee if hed like to visit China, to which the pitcher responded, Thats a long way from Arkansas.
Third baseman Placido Polanco, bounced from the NL starting lineup by a bulging disc in his lower back, is in Phoenix for the All-Star festivities. He said he was feeling better. He believes he could return to the Phillies lineup on Friday. The Phils are known for exercising caution with injuries so it wouldnt be surprising if he were to need a day or two more than that.
The All-Star Game is being played in Arizona six months after deadly shootings outside a Tucson supermarket. Christina Taylor Green, the nine-year-old granddaughter of Phillies legend Dallas Green, was one of six killed in the shooting, which had targeted Congresswomen Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz).
Christinas father, John, is a longtime baseball man and scout for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He and his son, Dallas, or Little D, as they call him, are expected to be part of Tuesday nights pregame ceremonies in which Christina and other victims of the shootings will be remembered.
The Phils will face Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey on Friday night. Jonathon Niese and Mike Pelfrey will pitch on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
E-mail Jim Salisbury at email@example.com
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