Charlie Manuel offered a history lesson Tuesday afternoon. He was talking about Roy Halladay, once a Phillies ace pitcher but now unrecognizable, and conjured Brad Lidge's name. The former Phillies closer is the quintessential example of Manuel's loyalty.
Lidge blew 11 saves in 2009, pitched to a 7.21 ERA, but remained closer as the Phillies won the pennant.
"I looked down there and, to me, Brad Lidge was probably still the best I had," Manuel said. "If I was going to lose the game, it was going to be with Brad Lidge. I was committed to Brad Lidge. If I commit to you, I'll commit to you."
On Tuesday, the Phillies steadfastly committed to Halladay, which came as no surprise. Halladay, one of the great pitchers of this generation, has earned that right.
"Doc gets as long as he needs," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "I think he’s going to get himself straightened out."
That is the sentiment now. Further ineffectiveness could force the team's hand. That scenario is one the Phillies choose not to imagine.
Manuel was defensive when asked about the topic.
"Roy has earned the right to tell us how he feels and how he wants to go about certain things," Manuel said. "We never once thought about shutting him down. I can tell you that. And you know something else? Shutting him down isn't the right way, neither. I don't see any way in the world if he's healthy where you shut him down."
Amaro said Halladay has not appeared on any of the team's medical reports.
"He hasn't complained of any pain," Amaro said. "He hasn't complained of any issues. He just doesn't have the same velocity and we have to live with it."
Manuel admitted it is difficult overseeing a fallen star like Halladay because uncomfortable decisions are required.The 35-year-old righty estimated "95 percent" of his problems are mental. He said it is tougher to make changes when everyone is watching.
It is Manuel's preference to avoid interfering with Halladay's process unless it becomes absolutely necessary.
"It's hard to tell somebody how you feel," Manuel said. "It's hard to relate to how somebody feels."
Halladay will start again Sunday afternoon in Miami against the hapless Marlins.
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