Roy Halladay Threw From the Mound on Sunday

Roy Halladay Threw From the Mound on Sunday

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]

Steve Mason rediscovers himself in New York just before Flyers' return

Steve Mason rediscovers himself in New York just before Flyers' return

It had been a while since Steve Mason saw himself.

Walking into the Barclays Center on Sunday, the Flyers’ goalie was 0-6-2 with a 4.03 goals-against average and .844 save percentage over his last 10 appearances (see more recent Flyers numbers and stats).

A far cry of how Mason truly sees himself in net.

But heading into Wednesday’s rivalry clash with the Rangers, Mason will have something to build on, something he couldn’t say since Dec. 21 - the last previous time he had earned a victory. He’s fresh off his first win in over a month, a massive one for Mason considering all the key moments on Sunday the Flyers hope invigorate his confidence.

Without numerous clutch stops from their goalie, the Flyers don’t come back from two goals down to beat the Islanders, 3-2, in overtime. Mason made four saves  — three on four-time All-Star John Tavares — in just over a minute of a third-period power play. The Flyers ended up having to kill two New York man advantages in the final 10 minutes of regulation in order to force overtime.

The extra session is when Mason was just as good, if not better, stoning Tavares on a breakaway attempt that had game-winner written all over it. Mason made four saves in overtime after 13 in the third period.

“I was happy with the way that, personally, this game went for myself,” Mason said Sunday. “It’s been a tough stretch and this is more the type of game that I expect of myself. In recent games, the team was lacking the big saves and tonight it shows what kind of difference it can make.”

It was a massive performance heading into a massive three-game stretch against the Rangers, Maple Leafs and Hurricanes.

“Mase made some huge saves for us,” Simmonds said. “It allowed us to get back in that game.

“It’s not just Mase [with the] ups and downs. Everyone in here has been kind of fighting it and squeezing sticks pretty tight. That one felt good and I think Mase led the charge for sure.”

Mason understands just one game doesn’t turn around a season.

“It’s nice to feel good after a game,” Mason said. “At the same time, whether you’re winning or losing, you have to have a short mindset and get ready for the next one.”

That brings the Flyers to Madison Square Garden Wednesday to face the Rangers, who they’ve lost five straight games to dating back to last season. Mason hasn’t had much luck against New York this season, allowing seven goals in two losses with an .860 save percentage. However, in 2015-16, Mason put up a 1.74 goals-against average and .941 save percentage in five games against the Rangers.

“That’s going to be a tough game going into MSG,” Mason said Tuesday (see story).

The good thing: Mason was in New York two days ago, remembering what he can be.

Manute Bol's 7-foot, 17-year-old son dominates in HS season debut

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Manute Bol's 7-foot, 17-year-old son dominates in HS season debut

Bol Bol, the 17-year-old son of the late Manute Bol, is a top high school basketball prospect with offers from schools like Arizona, Kansas and Creighton. This highlight tape should give you an idea why.
 
Bol, whose father played in the NBA for parts of 12 seasons, including 215 games for the Sixers, now attends the famed Mater Dei High School in California and played in his first game of the season this past weekend. Listed as the No. 16 overall prospect in the 2018 recruiting class by Scout, Bol started his season off with a big 21-point, 10-rebound effort.
 
Take a look at the highlight tape from the 6-foot-11 Bol and expect to see him carry on his father’s legacy on the court at a major NCAA college basketball program soon.