Roy Halladay lands on DL, heads to LA to find out what's wrong
Phillies front office hoping for positive news. Meanwhile, manager Charlie Manuel praises ace for 'integrity' in wanting to pitch.
SAN FRANCISCO - Roy Halladay found refuge on the back of a plane.
"I didn't get the opportunity to speak to Roy," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said from the visiting dugout at AT & T Park yesterday. "I got up and went back to look for him, but he was asleep. I didn't want to wake him up."
After pitching through one of the worst starts of his career, and then acknowledging his arm wasn't right afterward, Halladay slept on the team's charter flight from Philadelphia to San Francisco on Sunday. He boarded another plane, bound for Los Angeles, yesterday.
Today, Halladay should learn more about the right shoulder inflammation that landed him on the disabled list. Halladay is scheduled to visit the offices of Dr. Lewis Yocum for a thorough checkup on a right arm that's led him to an 8.65 ERA after his first seven starts of the 2013 season.
"Hopefully, we'll get good news," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "Anytime you put a guy like this on the DL, it's not good news. But we'll see where it goes from here."
The Phillies recalled lefthander Joe Savery from Triple A Lehigh Valley yesterday afternoon to assume Halladay's place on the active roster. Another move is imminent in the next few days, however, as the Phils need to find someone to assume Halladay's spot in the rotation.
Righthander Tyler Cloyd and lefty Adam Morgan are the obvious candidates, as Amaro pointed out yesterday afternoon. He ruled out 21-year-old Jesse Biddle, the team's top prospect, who only just began pitching at Double A this season.
"We're probably going to go grab somebody internally," Amaro said. "We are looking at some other outside possibilities as well right now, but at least for the short term we're going to go internal for Friday's start."
Although Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and Kyle Kendrick have been at best brilliant and at worst serviceable in the season's first 5 weeks, the potential long-term absence of Halladay can't be overstated.
The Phillies were 25-24 when Halladay's shoulder knocked him out for 7 weeks last season. When he returned from the DL shortly after the All-Star break, the team was 40-51.
Of course, even if Halladay's current absence is brief, the Phils must face the reality that he's not the pitcher he was in 2010 and 2011.
"It'll make it tougher for us, there's no question about that," Amaro said on whether his team could get into contention this summer without Halladay. "But I think our other guys are pitching a little bit better than what we thought they might anyways, Kyle being one of them. [Jonathan] Pettibone stepped up and pitched pretty well for us, so we have guys who can win games . . . I still think we can win games and contend."
In addition to Halladay, fellow starter John Lannan (left knee) is on the disabled list and not due back soon. Amaro reiterated Lannan's initial timetable - 6 to 8 weeks - meaning the earliest he could return to a suddenly depleted rotation wouldn't come until the end of May.
At least yesterday, Amaro didn't sound like a general manager who was ready to turn over two spots in his rotation to rookies.
"There are some guys out there with [out clauses in their contracts]," Amaro said, speaking of major league veterans who are pitching in the minor leagues. "There are some players we'll keep an eye out on."
But unless they uncover a Ryan Vogelsong - the Philly native pitched for Triple A Lehigh Valley in 2010, was never called up and latched on with the Giants, where he became an All-Star in 2011 - the Phillies are in an unenviable position.
Neither Amaro nor Manuel, however, blames Halladay for that.
After giving up nine runs in 2 1/3 innings in a difficult-to-watch, 14-2 loss to the lowly Miami Marlins on Sunday, Halladay came clean to Amaro. The general manager was summoned to an in-game meeting with Halladay and head athletic trainer Scott Sheridan after the pitcher's work was over for the day.
"He let us know what the story was," Amaro said. "He hadn't been able to get over it."
Halladay said he first felt the pain in his shoulder on April 25, the morning after holding Pittsburgh to one run on one hit in six innings of a 5-3 loss. He tried to pitch through it in Cleveland, where he surrendered eight runs in 3 2/3 innings, and he tried again on Sunday.
He faced reality on Sunday. Yesterday, although he hadn't had a chance to talk to his pitcher yet, Manuel wasn't angry with Halladay for keeping his soreness from the team.
Manuel admired the 35-year-old for showing "integrity."
"I've been around the game a long time. I never liked to tell anyone I couldn't play," Manuel said. "If you asked me if I could play, I would have never told you I couldn't. You know? I don't want to get into that. I played with a broken arm, I played with a whole lot of things. I got hit in the face and my lip was over my eye and I missed 1 day. I would never tell you I couldn't play. So, yeah, I could understand that. He felt he could go out there and still pitch.
"He wasn't thinking about not pitching bad or something like that; he wanted to try. Roy is an upstanding guy, a straight guy. Hey, there should be more guys like that. You say, 'Well he's hurt, he's hurt.' But evidently he didn't feel that way; he felt like he could play. Nowadays, guys, they get out of the game real easy. That means he has some integrity, that the game means something to him, that he wanted to see if he could help us. It wasn't like he was trying to hurt us. Knowing him like I do, he thought he could pitch."
Halladay can't pitch for at least 2 weeks, the length of his stay on the disabled list. The Phils will most likely find out how much longer the two-time Cy Young winner's absence will be at some point this afternoon.