Roy Halladay could return in two weeks

Phillies starting pitcher Roy Halladay. (Matt Slocum/AP)

ATLANTA — Kevin Camiscioli, the Phillies' manager of video coaching services, handed Charlie Manuel a phone Monday. The screen displayed Roy Halladay, throwing a bullpen session in Florida, which served as the final barrier from his competing in real games.

Everything went as planned. Halladay, months removed from shoulder surgery, is cleared to pitch.

He will start Thursday for the rookie-level Gulf Coast League Phillies. Because he will throw 75-80 pitches, the Phillies believe he may require just two minor-league rehab starts before a return to the majors.

It is an aggressive plan, but Halladay has passed every test until this moment. The team and pitcher want as much evaluation time before the season ends because the future is murky. Halladay is a free agent. Both sides have mutual interest in extending the relationship.

Once Halladay pitches Thursday, he has a 30-day clock on his rehab assignment. All indications are his return will be sooner, perhaps as soon as Aug. 25 against Arizona at Citizens Bank Park if he remains on schedule.

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