The two scouts who Ken Rosenthal quoted in his spring training story about Roy Halladay's decreased velocity are not the only people who had some suspicions about the veteran righthander's physical well-being.
"I've thought since spring training that there was an issue," pitching coach Rich Dubee said on Tuesday, after the Phillies put Halladay on the disabled list with a Grade 1/2 strain of his lat muscle. "The ball just hasn't been accelerating through the zone the way his stuff does. His cutter has been moving that way, but his stuff is different than most people's stuff. Does he have that 96 (MPH velocity)? No. But his stuff, from the grass through the hitting zone, is explosive. It just took off. It was just more gradual now. It didn't have the finish to it."
So why did Halladay continue to pitch? According to Dubee, it was only the last couple of outings when it became apparent that the veteran righthander was not going to be able to pitch through whatever was ailing him. Heck, according to Halladay, there wasn't even a problem until the past couple starts.
Probably for a couple weeks now he's talked about crankiness, but he's said it's nothing I can't pitch with. After a couple of outings I talked to him, and then last outing, just watching his body language you could tell it wasn't even close to being right. So we got him out of there and hopefully we caught this thing at a good time if there is a good time and we can get it strengthened and get him on the mound again.
"Guys generally pitch with something," Dubee said. "You do not feel 100 percent very often when you go out there. There are lingering things and I thought this was some type of thing that was just a minor, lingering thing and we talked and he said he felt he could deal with it and work through it, and it just never got better and finally we had to stop it and see what was going on.
"Guys pitch with crankiness. Guys pitch with all kinds of crankiness. There is wear and tear to pitching. This went from just a crankiness and not feeling right to all of a sudden the last couple outings it was a little more difficult. The difference was really that he could get heated up, but when he sat down, he couldn't get it going again, he couldn't get the arm speed going again and the velocity and his arm in the right slot, and that just happened in the last couple of outings.
"We always talk. Probably for a couple weeks now he's talked about crankiness, but he's said it's nothing I can't pitch with. After a couple of outings I talked to him, and then last outing, just watching his body language you could tell it wasn't even close to being right. So we got him out of there and hopefully we caught this thing at a good time if there is a good time and we can get it strengthened and get him on the mound again."
Nobody is quite sure when the injury happened. Dubee pointed out that Halladay shouldered a tremendous workload in his final outing of the 2011 season, throwing 126 pitches in eight innings while trying to maintain a 1-0 deficit against the Cardinals.
"I haven't seen the stuff you expect to see out of him really since spring training, so you wonder," Dubee said. "You wonder what happened. We leave the season last year, he pitches a whale of a game the last day, was it happening then, did it happen when he started long tossing? You really don't know when it happened. Does it happen over wear and tear? There's a lot of things you could throw into the equation. But it is what it is and hopefully we caught it at a good enough time where three weeks of rest and reshaping his lat and strengthening it again we can get him back on the mound."
The news is better than it could have been.
"It could have been the labrum, it could have been the rotator cuff," Dubee said. "If there is good news from an injury, this is probably good news."