MIAMI — Bullpen coach Mick Billmeyer did not pay attention Friday to how the ball moved from Roy Halladay's right hand to home plate. He was watching something else as Halladay threw off a mound for the first time in almost five weeks.
"His face looked good," Billmeyer said.
That's as good a sign as any. It was a strain for Halladay to pitch in May with a shoulder injury, but the team insists he has overcome it. In fact, pitching coach Rich Dubee said, Halladay is ahead of schedule in his recovery.
He threw 33 pitches in his first bullpen session Friday, including breaking balls.
"I've always been encouraged," Dubee said, "ever since he started throwing the ball."
The original timetable for Halladay's recovery was six to eight weeks and Dubee believes Halladay could fall on the earlier end of that. He said it's possible Halladay does not throw in a minor-league rehab game before his return.
"He might be a little different," Dubee said, citing Halladay's work ethic.
But the Phillies would still let Halladay go weeks without facing live hitters?
"We might," Dubee said.
Dubee termed Halladay's pace as "a few days not weeks" ahead of schedule. He will throw another bullpen sometime within the week. But for Halladay to throw breaking balls in a complete bullpen session for his first effort off the mound is impressive.
"He's progressing nicely," Dubee said.
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