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.
>> Halladay ramps up recovery, feels ‘good’ [CSN]
What is there to say about the Philadelphia Phillies?
In doing my usual postgame perusal of the Internet after their 7-2 loss on Wednesday night, I visited Phillies.com to see what kind of "highlights" they could have possibly posted from another crushing defeat at the hands of the Colorado Rockies.
Thankfully, the first thing that caught my eye was a video titled, "Phanatic tries to comfort crying baby."
It was not Larry Andersen in the Phanatic's arms. Nor me.
And that's the Phillies season in a nutshell.
"You gotta question the parenting skills here," John Kruk said on the telecast. And he's right! What kind of parent would raise their kid to be a Philly sports fan?!?
The Phillies now have the worst record in all of baseball. They're 4-20 in their last 24 games. It's their worst start to a season since 1960.
Even the Phanatic doesn't have enough popcorn to mask all the pain.
If you want to read about the upbeat approach Pete Mackanin is taking, go give this a gander.
"In a long season, these things sometimes happen," Mackanin told reporters. "I remember Atlanta, the first half last year, was terrible. They had a real good second half. I believe we just need to get something going. We're going to put something together. I believe that."
That makes one of us.
The future of Villanova basketball just got brighter.
Brandon Slater, a 6-foot-6 wing and highly touted 2018 recruit, told Scout.com on Wednesday night that he has verbally committed to the Wildcats.
He later made the announcement on Twitter.
Among the 2018 recruiting class, Slater, a product of Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax, Virginia, is ranked in the top 30 by Scout.com and top 50 by ESPN.com. He's slated as a four-star talent by both media outlets.
Per ESPN, Slater had offers from Louisville, Maryland, Miami, Syracuse, USC and Virginia Tech. He is Villanova's first commitment for 2018.
"Going up there it just feels like a second home," Slater said, via Evan Daniels of Scout.com. "It gives me a good vibe. It's nothing like all the other schools. I just feel like a Villanova guy. It feels like PVI. It's already home."
Slater and Villanova head coach Jay Wright expressed their excitement on Twitter.