So now, we get to pretend Doc’s return isn’t curtained off by a sense of overall dread.
Not because we don’t think he’ll come back, but because what will he be coming back to? A barely .500 Phillies team? A trade market that makes him wait, due to concern about his surgery? A post-apocalyptic Citizens Bank Park, patrolled by a feral, hideous Phanatic, while a horde of zombie Chip Kelly’s Eagles run innovative attack patterns outside?!?!
But we do know that Doc isn’t going to stop getting stronger, as long as there is breath in his body. What a psychological obstacle course he’s running; as he’s said, he can only think about what’s in front of him. If he starts dwelling on which Eagle is probably the most dangerous in zombie form, he’ll get overwhelmed and the whole thing will be for naught.
Rich Dubee has had a front row seat for this process, so he’ll be the one sugarcoating everything that happens. Right now, Doc is throwing off a mound, which is a huge step in the right direction. That direction is “baseball.” That direction is not “Phillies.”
“I don’t look at velocity at all right now,” said pitching coach Rich Dubee. “I’m looking at his arm path, making sure he gets his arm up where it needs to be. And ever since Day 1, it’s been very encouraging. ”
So, when Doc is ready to throw, which it is still hard to believe could be this year, the Phillies will – speaking as painfully objectively as I can – more than likely be out of it. Not definitely, but probably… the things keeping them in it are the NL East’s innate ability to employ completely collapsible teams.
Whatever. Dubee was adamant about how this was the first step of a very long process; this went well, so we do the next thing. If something breaks, it’ll take longer. Considering whether or not Roy Halladay could be a part of a magical, highly unlikely Phillies playoff run could probably be considered getting slightly ahead of ourselves.