CLEARWATER, Fla. - Roy Halladay was around the Phillies' spring-training facility this weekend, which may have been the early workings of an agreement to bring the legendary pitcher back into the fold.
MLB.com reported Tuesday that Halladay is "likely" to work with the Phillies as a uniformed instructor. His duties were not clear, but Halladay could start before the end of spring training.
He met with Phillies pitchers Jerad Eickhoff and Nick Pivetta on Saturday night before Halladay was honored at a Clearwater gala. Pivetta, who is Canadian, grew up as a big Halladay fan from the ace's days in Toronto.
"I got to briefly shake his hand. He knew I was like a stalker," Pivetta said. "There are hundreds of things I respected about him, but, the one thing is the way he went about his business and how hard he worked. From day one, I've realized how hard he worked and what kind of pitcher and role model he was for everyone else, his teammates. That resonated with me. That's what I want to do when I get older and I'm more established."
Odubel Herrera was scratched from the lineup Tuesday against Baltimore after he discovered he had to secure paperwork to play for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic.
Herrera flew to New Orleans to go to the Venezuelan consulate. Manager Pete Mackanin said Herrera would return later Tuesday. Mackanin also said Herrera would play some left field this spring, but only because that is where Herrera will play with Venezuela.
Clay Buchholz made his first start of spring training since joining the Phillies this offseason in a trade with Boston. He pitched two scoreless innings, allowing two hits and one walk with no strikeouts. The righthander said it was the first time in a spring training start in which he focused his efforts on working on things instead of pitching for results.
"In years past it's been more of a max-effort deal for me," Buchholz said. "But getting to be around the veterans that I grew up around, I figured I'd give their advice a try, give 80 percent and work more on release point and being comfortable on the field. Because it's been a while since I've been out there facing competition. It felt good. That's a step in the right direction for opening day and wherever we're slotted."
Tommy Joseph homered for the first time this spring, rocketing a ball off the roof of the tiki bar behind the left-field wall. . . . Zach Eflin and Jake Thompson continue to work their way back from injuries. Both pitchers completed bullpen sessions this week and said they felt fine. They have a chance to appear in their first games next week.