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Roy Halladay Returns, Looks Mediocre

With the Phillies in need of a starter in wake of Saturday’s 18 inning affair against the Diamondbacks, the team turned to Roy Halladay. The former Cy Young Award winner was supposed to start in Double-A on Sunday in a more traditional rehab appearance, but the Phillies were desperate and moved up Halladay’s timetable by a week or two.

Halladay ended his day facing 24 batters, throwing 94 pitches through six innings of work. Halladay struck out a couple of Diamondbacks, and also walked two guys. Halladay should have allowed a homer to Matt Davidson, but Philadelphia center fielder Roger Bernadina went over the wall to save his bacon.

In an effort to gauge where Halladay was in his return from a major shoulder injury, the present author watched a the last five innings from the start, and I walked away generally unimpressed. Halladay’s velocity was quite low, as the right-hander was sitting around 87 mph on his fastball. Halladay switched between a sinker and a cutter and neither pitch proved to be entirely effectively. His sinker appeared to run in more than it sank, and the cutter appeared a little flat and even somewhat “floaty” at times.

Like before his shoulder injury, Halladay’s curveball was his saving grace, and he was able to locate the pitch low and on the edge of the plate for called strikes. Halladay’s changeup was solid but not spectacular.

While I am certainly not a professional scout, I walked away from Halladay’s start feeling like he still had a long way to go if he wants to return to being anything close to what he was in the past. While his stuff doesn’t look good enough to mow hitters down like he’s done in the past, Halladay could at least find the zone this time around, so there’s still the potential for a future as a groundball specialist.

Halladay is going to hit the open market about two months from now, and someone’s going to give him a chance to fill out the middle or back of their rotation. I’m fairly confident saying that Halladay is done as a standard league option unless he goes to a pitcher friendly park, but he’ll still be an option in non-mixed formats.