There is one final start standing between Roy Halladay and a winter of change. The 35-year-old ace will remodel his routine with hopes of recapturing his dominant form. But listen to his bosses and they stress the importance of Halladay finishing 2012 by pitching in a meaningless game.
"When you have a guy like him, he deserves that," pitching coach Rich Dubee said. "If he wants to pitch, and he feels he can pitch, then why not?"
Halladay will throw a bullpen session Wednesday. If he demonstrates better mechanics and diminished pain from the spasm in his shoulder, he will start Saturday at Miami. That would mark his final appearance in a forgettable season.
Both Charlie Manuel and Dubee said the decision is not solely Halladay's, who has not exactly been forthcoming before about injuries. The team has often deferred to the ultracompetitive pitcher.
Dubee said Phillies doctors found no structural issues inside Halladay's shoulder after multiple examinations. The spasm, Dubee said, is something Halladay has combated "three or four times this year."
"If this isn't going to hinder him from pitching next year," Manuel said, "I don't see no reason why he shouldn't."
The manager was asked if he agrees with the significance Halladay has placed on ending 2012 in the rotation.
"If he thinks it's important to him, then, yeah, I agree with that," Manuel said. "I've always been the kind of guy that wants to play. I want to see my guys play, I want to see them pitch. If they're hurt and they can't go, I definitely don't want them out there. I know Roy knows himself. ... If he can and he wants to and it's not going to affect him that much anymore, than why shouldn't he?"
Halladay, of course, pitched through shoulder stiffness for much of the season. He did not admit it until he was placed on the disabled list in May with a strained muscle near his shoulder. That cost him seven weeks.
Halladay's ERA in 13 starts since returning is 4.78. It was 3.98 in the 11 starts before.
Dubee said Halladay's shoulder maladies have most hampered his cutter. That pitch, often his best, has lacked its typical movement. Halladay, often one of the first to pitch off a mound in winter, could start his throwing program later.
With so much emphasis placed on rehabbing his shoulder, Dubee believes other areas were affected by a lack of attention. Halladay could add more focus to his core strength and flexibility this winter.
Halladay turns 36 in May and has more mileage than most anyone. There may be no magic cure this winter, but he will exhaust the possibilities. For now, the focus is on one last breath before hibernation.
Extra bases. Tyler Cloyd will start Thursday against Washington while Cliff Lee will pitch Friday in Miami on regular rest. Lee would also be on schedule to pitch Game 162 in Washington. . . . The Phillies entered Tuesday with a 39-39 record at Citizens Bank Park. They have finished with a .500 or better home mark for 11 straight seasons. . . . Cole Hamels has started at least 30 games for five straight seasons making him only the second Phils pitcher to accomplish the feat since 1984. The other was Brett Myers, from 2003-08.