Zaniness expidites Roy Halladay's return

Roy Halladay during a game on April 24. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

Before Ryne Sandberg sent Tyler Cloyd from the dugout to the bullpen in the 11th inning, he made a phone call. The Phillies needed to know if Roy Halladay could start in the majors — not double A — before burning Cloyd, Sunday's scheduled pitcher.

The first call went to general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., who was not in Philadelphia. He communicated with Halladay, already in Reading to prepare for his start, and found approval. Halladay will drive back to Citizens Bank Park in the morning for his triumphant return from May shoulder surgery.

"I believe he was our best option for tomorrow," Sandberg said. "Just give us what he has."

Halladay was supposed to pitch in his third minor-league rehab game for Reading. He was shaky in his previous two outings, displaying diminished velocity and command issues. The 36-year-old former Cy Young Award winner must refine it in the majors.

He is stretched out, having thrown 87 or more pitches in each outing. There was no better option. Triple-A Lehigh Valley's starter is Raul Valdes, who was optioned fewer than 10 days ago. He could return only to replace a disabled player.

Sandberg anticipated two roster moves prior to Sunday's game. Another bullpen arm should arrive to aid a unit that threw 17 1/3 innings in a 12-7 loss to Arizona. Cloyd threw 91 pitches and he may be demoted until Sept. 1, when rosters expand.

Have a question? Send it to Matt Gelb's Mailbag.