With the Phillies just 18 1/2 games out of first place in the NL East, the team got some good news on Monday.
Roy Halladay may soon be back to save the season.
And by “save the season,” I mean avoid the indignity of finishing behind the Miami Marlins in the standings. Because, you know, that would be a rather bad thing that would cause my feelings to cry.
Ruben Amaro told reporters before the game against Atlanta on Monday that Halladay would make an official minor league rehab start on Thursday and that, “if all things go well,” he could actually rejoin the Phils’ rotation after just two rehab starts.
Because, you know, the Phillies really do need to rush him back so they can try and leapfrog the Mets for third in the East.
“If everything continues to go in a straight line, he could be back after two (rehab) starts,” Amaro said. “But it depends on how he feels. You can’t crystal-ball it.”
Halladay, who no one should listen to when it comes to determining his own injuries and timetable, said he wants to return as soon as possible.
“I want to make sure when I start my rehab assignment I feel like I am able to compete at a high level,” Halladay said last week. “I want to compete in those games like I would (in the majors) so I know where I stand when I get here. I’m not interested in coming back and pitching at the same level I was early this year. I want to come back and pitch at a high level.” – quotes per CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury
Halladay is in the final year of a contract that pays him $20 million and will be a free agent after the season. Clearly, Halladay would love to spend the months of August and September proving to every team throughout the Majors that he is worthy of a contract for 2014 and beyond.
So for Roy, there is a LOT at stake over the last two months.
And while Halladay previously said he wouldn’t guarantee a return to Philadelphia if he is healthy, the chances are probably at least 50-50 that the two sides would be interested in renewing their relationship if Halladay proves he is healthy and can pitch at a high level.
On the other hand, Amaro said first baseman Ryan Howard may not be back at all this year.
“I have no idea when or if he is going to be back this year,” Amaro said. “If he’s 100 percent and doing baseball activities, it’s possible. But there’s no reason to rush him back.”
Amaro said Howard has lost 15 to 20 pounds while doing his rehabilitation work, but frankly, it would be downright silly for the Phils to rush him back, as I noted earlier this year. It makes no sense for Howard to come back during this lost season. Instead, he should take the entire rest of the season and then the off-season to full rest and regain strength in his lower legs, and hopefully return in much the same way that David Ortiz did for the Red Sox this year.
If Howard does see the field again this year, it would be an organizational mistake.
Not that the Phillies haven’t already made a few of those this year.