Source: USA TODAY
SAN FRANCISCO — Roy Halladay’s career no longer appears to be in jeopardy. He might even come back and pitch this season. But it won’t be anytime soon.
The Philadelphia Phillies ace told news reporters he needs arthroscopic surgery to remove a bone spur and to repair a partially torn rotator cuff and a frayed labrum. He figures to be out at least three months.
Halladay said an exam in Los Angeles by orthopedist Neal ElAttrache revealed a scenario “a lot better than some of the things I anticipated.”
“He said they thought they could turn back the clock two or three years for me,” Halladay said of ElAttrache, who examined him Tuesday. “I thought it was very good news.”
Halladay said he still needs to do some research before undergoing the surgery, which he said will likely take place next week. The time frame for his return is not certain, but Halladay said ElAttrache indicated in previous cases it has taken three months. The full scope of Halladay’s recovery won’t be known until the surgery occurs.
Halladay, who turns 36 on Tuesday, has won 201 career games but has struggled the past two seasons, especially so this year, posting a 2-4 record with an 8.65 ERA. He gave up 17 runs over six innings in his last two appearances and was placed on the disabled list Monday, then traveled to Los Angeles to be examined by ElAttrache.
“My biggest concern was I couldn’t throw the ball where I wanted to throw it,” Halladay said. “I wasn’t concerned about velocity. The pain wasn’t overwhelming. I couldn’t understand why my location was so poor.”
Halladay found out the bone spur had been rubbing against the rotator cuff, damaging it and likely forcing him to alter his pitching mechanics. He expects the surgery will improve his range of motion and allow him to regain his command.
From 2006 to 2011, the two-time Cy Young Award winner averaged 18 wins and 236 innings, throwing a perfect game in 2010 and a no-hitter in that year’s playoffs. In that six-year span, Halladay averaged less than two walks per nine innings every season, usually hovering around the 1.3 mark. This year that figure is at 4.5.
The surgery Halladay faces, which he referred to as “a scope and a cleanup,” is not regarded as career-threatening.
“They don’t need to reattach the rotator cuff, which would require a year and a half and a low chance of pitching again,” he said. “To me, the fact that it’s an (arthroscopic procedure) is a lot better option, obviously a lot quicker. And at my age, it’s the best thing for me.”
Halladay is earning $20 million this season, then is eligible for free agency. General manager Ruben Amaro dismissed a question about re-signing Halladay as premature.
“I’m sad that I don’t have him available to pitch. I wanted him to pitch. But we can’t control that,” Amaro said. “Of all the scenarios that could have been, I think it’s a pretty good one. We still remain optimistic that he can come back and pitch sometime this year. It that’s the case, if he can help us, that’d be great.”
Right-hander Tyler Cloyd, who is 1-3 with a 5.40 ERA at Class AAA Lehigh Valley, will be called up to start Friday against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Halliday’s place. However, Amaro said the longer-term replacement would be lefty John Lannan, whose recovery from a left-knee injury has been stepped up.
Halladay was relieved and encouraged by the results of his examination, which provided an explanation for his sudden ineffectiveness.
“I don’t feel as lost as before. I feel like there’s some answers there,” Halladay said. “I feel like there’s some things that we see that can be done. I’m optimistic we’ll get it fixed and I’ll be able to come back and pitch.”
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