Roy Halladay's Opening Day

Philadelphia Phillies' Roy Halladay walks onto the field for a workout at baseball spring training, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013, in Clearwater, Fla. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Roy Halladay trotted out to the third base line and stood alongside third base coach Ryne Sandberg for the pregame festivities on Opening Day.

Right before the national anthem played at Turner Field, with the gigantic American flag sprawled out over the outfield grass, Halladay stood along side his teammates and coaches. And he looked almost lost.

It was the first time in 11 years Halladay was not warming up in the bullpen in preparation to take the mound on Opening Day.

The 35-year-old Halladay was among the first to back Cole Hamels as the Phillies Opening Day starter this spring, well before the news was announced. Halladay said it was Hamels' time, that he was ready to be the leader of the veteran, All-Star laden staff.

That said, Halladay is still a competitive animal. So when Charlie Manuel spoke to the 2-time Cy Young Award winner during Monday's game, Halladay had a message for his manager.

"I said something to him about (pushing him back)," Manuel said, referring to the idea of moving Halladay's first start to this weekend in Philly.

Manuel continued relaying the conversation.

"'How do you feel? Are you ready to pitch?'" he asked Halladay.

"Yeah," Halladay said, "I wanted to to pitch the first game but you didn't want me to."

Charlie liked what he heard.

"That was a good answer," Manuel said. "That was all right. That's the kind of answer you like."