We are all eager to see how Roy Halladay rebounds from his latest issue: a stomach bug. This was no mere excuse; Halladay reportedly lost 10 pounds while sick. Jonathan Papelbon, also ill with the bug, needed an IV to replenish his fluids. But we will not get to see how he rebounds when he makes his next pitching appearance on Saturday because he will throw a minor league game, reports the Inquirer's Matt Gelb.
The Phillies are running out of time for Halladay to stretch out his arm for a full start by the time the season opens in Atlanta on April 1. The Phillies are off April 2 and then play April 3 and 4 in Atlanta before heading back to Philadelphia. Gelb's piece says Halladay will throw 75 pitches on Saturday and then 100 in his final start before the Phillies head north.
I suppose it is possible that Halladay pitches later than the third game. The Phillies do not need a fifth starter right away with the off day on April 2. They could set up the rotation this way, skipping Hamels' turn:
- April 1 - Hamels
- April 2 - OFF
- April 3 - Lee
- April 4 - Kendrick
- April 5 - Lannan
- April 6 - Hamels
- April 7 - Halladay
- April 8 - Lee
- April 9 - Kendrick
- April 10 - Lannan
That way the Phillies could pitch Halladay Saturday in the minor league game, pitch another on March 28, and then be able to pitch a simulated game on the off day to give him an extra day of work.
One more option: a couple of extra days. Open the year Hamels, Lee, Kendrick, and let Halladay start the Phillies home opener. That could excite fans a little more than a Kendrick or Lannaan start.
If Halladay takes his usual turn, we may find a Halladay that pitches only five or six innings. Chad Durbin will be ready to pick up the middle innings that he typically did in any Joe Blanton start during his first Phillies run. Halladay could then ease into pitching deeper into games. One thing is clear: we do not know what we have of Halladay just yet and won't for a few starts.