Roy Halladay's velocity not an issue this spring

Roy Halladay's velocity not an issue this spring

March 1, 2013, 4:45 pm
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Spring Training TV Schedule

Mar. 3, Blue Jays at Phillies, 1 p.m., CSN

Mar. 5, World Baseball Classic, 1 p.m., CSN

Mar. 6, Nationals at Phillies, 1 p.m., TCN

Mar. 7, Twins at Phillies, 1 p.m., TCN

Mar. 12, Tigers at Phillies, 1 p.m., TCN

Mar. 14, Pirates at Phillies, 1 p.m., TCN

Mar. 17, Orioles at Phillies, 1 p.m., CSN

Mar. 19, Yankees at Phillies, 1 p.m., TCN

Mar. 22, Braves at Phillies, 1 p.m., TCN

Mar. 26, Rays at Phillies, 1 p.m., TCN

Mar. 28, Blue Jays at Phillies, 1 p.m., TCN

Mar. 29, Blue Jays at Phillies, 7 p.m., TCN

TAMPA — It wasn’t the definition of crisp during parts of it, but Roy Halladay’s outing against the New York Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field on Friday afternoon was solid nonetheless.

In his second appearance of the spring, Halladay allowed three hits, a walk and a run in 2 1/3 innings, Friday. He also had three strikeouts and threw eight first-pitch strikes to the 11 hitters he faced as the Phillies held on for a 10-5 victory.

“I like where Roy is,” manager Charlie Manuel said. “He’ll be ready when the season starts ... and healthy.”

Health, obviously, is the most important part of it and judging from the way he threw as well as what he threw, Halladay is clearly feeling good this spring. Not only did Halladay show off some velocity on his fastball by lighting up the gun upwards of 92 mph during his 2 1/3 innings, but he also mixed in a few breaking pitches, too.

Halladay said he usually never throws breaking pitches this early in the spring.

“I never really threw curveballs and cutters in spring training, so it was kind of new for me to be mixing them in right now,” Halladay said.

In all, Halladay threw 44 pitches (26 strikes). But the fact that he was throwing his curveball at all this early in the spring was important. If he’s throwing his breaking pitches, it means he feels pretty good about his fastball.

“I feel good physically and conditioning-wise,” Halladay said. “Really, I think that is ahead of everything else and it’s just a matter of fine tuning pitches.”

What makes this significant is that Halladay struggled with both his velocity and command last spring, which may have been the first visages of a shoulder injury showing through. Though he was able to work into the sixth inning in each of his first 10 starts last season, Halladay struggled. Following a two-inning stint in St. Louis on May 27, Halladay missed all of June and the first half of July before finally returning to the mound.

Against the Yankees on Friday, Halladay was solid, if not strong. In the first inning he worked himself into a slight bit of trouble by allowing a pair of infield singles and a two-out walk to Kevin Youkilis. But with the Yankees knocking on the door, Halladay got Melky Mesa to chase a 1-2 breaking pitch to end the threat.

In the second inning Halladay needed just 12 pitches to retire the side in order — half as many as he threw in the opening frame. Against No. 9 hitter Adonis Garcia, Halladay threw three straight balls, seemingly working on something, before retiring the hitter two pitches later.

After a ground out and a 2-1 double for Francisco Cervelli in the third, Halladay called it a day.

Not midseason form for Halladay, but not all that bad either.

“A few times it didn’t feel comfortable in my hand. It’s a matter of throwing it and getting comfortable with it,” Halladay said about throwing the curve. “That’s going to be the big thing going forward — getting comfortable with my curveball and getting comfortable with my cutter.”

It also didn’t hurt that the Phillies got six runs for Halladay, either. Though it would seem that a pitcher would prefer to do his work and get on the road and over the causeway back to Clearwater in time to go out for dinner, Halladay was happy to experience the long innings against the Yankees. Last spring the long innings and the up-and-down nature of pitching wore him out.

The fact that Halladay was able to handle the pace of the game and sitting in the dugout waiting for a chance to go back to the mound just showed that he was feeling strong.

“The long innings and the up and downs got me more than anything,” Halladay said. “I feel real good and strength-wise I feel really good, so it’s just a matter of fine-tuning my pitches and getting comfortable.”

Noting that Halladay needs to pitch 259 innings this season for the option on his contract to vest, the strength displayed this early in the spring is another nice development.

“It felt good. I threw some curveballs for the first time and the cutter still has a long way to go, but I felt good,” Halladay said.

So far, the fact that Halladay feels good could be the most important development of spring training.

Game stuff

In his last game before heading to Arizona to train with the USA team in the World Baseball Classic, shortstop Jimmy Rollins went 1 for 2 with a double, a run, two walks and a pair of RBIs to lead the Phillies to the 10-5 win.

Rollins led off the game with a walk against Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda and came around to score the first run of the game when first baseman Kyle Roller booted a no-out grounder batted by Chase Utley.

In the second inning Rollins laced a long, two-out double into right-center off Kuroda to knock in a pair of runs.

John Mayberry Jr. also had three RBIs, including a pair on a two-out, bases-loaded single in the third inning off Joba Chamberlain.

Camp invitee Cody Asche came off the bench and went 2 for 2 with a run while the red-hot Dom Brown drew three walks and scored twice.

The Phillies had one extra-base hit and nine singles while going 3-for-9 with runners in scoring position.

On the mound, Jonathan Papelbon and Raul Valdes were both charged with a pair of runs. Phillippe Aumont pitched a scoreless inning.

Papelbon allowed six runs in just two-thirds of an inning in his spring debut and two more on two hits and a walk against the Yankees. Regardless, Manuel isn’t too worried about the Phils’ closer since the defense was less than robust behind him and he has recorded four of his five outs on strikeouts.

“I’m not worried about him,” Manuel said. “Pap’s going to be fine.”

Up next

The Phillies have another short bus ride on Saturday afternoon when they travel to Dunedin to face the Blue Jays. Cliff Lee, Tyler Cloyd, Mike Stutes and Chad Durbin are scheduled to pitch for the Phillies.