Here’s a couple of thoughts on Halladay’s press conference. He says that he is feeling as good now as any other spring training. Now, of course he is going to say that. However, some of the things he said about why he had a bad year made me feeling optimistic. In the interest of time, here is a chunk right from Jim Salisbury’s column on CSNphilly.com:
Halladay made another admission: He had lower back problems as far back as spring training last year and those issues caused problems elsewhere. He said the lower back issue never really went away and that it affected his shoulder and pitching mechanics, which affected his location and ability to pitch effectively. Halladay indicated that he did not realize his problems started in his lower back until late in the season when he took complete stock of the situation.
I believe this is good news, because it was more than just a strained elbow, and it started way back in spring training. This means it (hopefully) was more than just Halladay getting old. Again, we won’t know until he faces hitters, and RAJ said as much. I really found it hard to believe Halladay could go from throwing a no-hitter last October to washed-up so quickly without some sort of middle-ground decline.
Another funny bit was that Utley encouraged Halladay to “drill” more batters this year.
As for velocity, Halladay kind of shrugged that off suggesting that he cares more about feeling “comfortable”. That’s all well and good as long as he can locate his pitches like he did in 2011 and before. If he can’t and his velocity is still down, it will be trouble. He doesn’t have to throw 92-93 all the time to be successful. Velocity will decrease over time, it’s inevitable. But as long as he has movement and location, he can still be very effective.
One last significant bit of info was that he says he wants to retire a Phillie. This is his last year under contract as it will be highly unlikely he can pitch enough innings this year for the option to kick in. I’d love to have him back if he is effective next year, but I wonder if he would come back. Another team (Dodgers) would offer him more no doubt or another team could offer more of a chance to win a World Series. Best case scenario for every would be if the Phillies win one next year. I’ll end this post with this quote from Halladay:
“I’m playing to win a World Series. That’s why I’m playing baseball and for no other reason. However we get to that goal, that’s the bottom line. If it takes 320 innings and I can throw it, I’ll do it. That’s the reason I’m here. And that’s it. I’m not worried about next year and two years and three years from now. I’m trying to win a World Series.”