Roy Halladay throws strikes, allows home run in spring debut

LAKELAND, Fla. — At 1:14 p.m., Roy Halladay launched a baseball from his right hand, an act anticipated for five months. He threw 22 times in all Sunday against Detroit with his prized right arm intact.

The lone man to reach base was Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez, who socked a 2-1 Halladay pitch over the fence in right-center at Joker Marchant Stadium. Halladay struck out Torii Hunter and Prince Fielder. He fooled hitters with his change-up.

In summary, everything is well. For now.

Halladay threw 22 pitches (16 strikes) in his two innings. He was probably most upset about throwing first-pitch strikes to just three of the seven batters he faced. Detroit made better contact in the second inning, but there were never signs of Halladay laboring.

One scout's radar gun had Halladay's fastball between 89 and 91 m.p.h., a very typical speed for this time of year. That scout said Halladay's velocity compared to Cole Hamels' from his first outing Saturday.

Last spring, Halladay's decreased velocity and arm slot prompted scouts to question whether the star pitcher was injured. The Phillies and Halladay denied it. Eventually, Halladay revealed he suffered from lower back pain that forced an alteration of his mechanics. That resulted in a strained shoulder that cost him six weeks of the 2012 season.

Really, Halladay was never right last season. His first acts of 2013 were encouraging.

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