Roy Halladay flipped the script a bit during his first press conference of the spring here in Clearwater. The veteran righthander said that lower back problems were the source of most of what ailed him last season, a disappointing campaign in which he posted an ERA approaching 6.00 over his last 20 starts. Halladay and the Phillies indicated last season that the problem was located more toward the pitcher's shoulder. When he went on the disabled list, he did so with what the team labeled a strain of the latissimus dorsi, which is technically in the back. Halladay had an MRI on his shoulder.
Halladay said he and doctors eventually determined that his upper back/shoulder problems stemmed from issues with his lower back, which he said he had trouble loosening throughout the season, causing him to change the mechanics of his upper torso.
Halladay said that after consulations with team trainers and doctors, he completely overhauled his usual offseason conditioning routine, focusing on more sport specific/dynamic movements that built strength and flexibility in his lower back and core.
"I feel as good now as I have any other spring training," Halladay said. "Last year, it wasn't as if I felt bad, it just never really clicked for me."
Halladay will turn 36 years old in May, but he said he is confident that he can still be effective. When asked if he had to alter his workload during games, Halladay said he still felt like he could throw 120 pitches. He said the work between days is what needs to change.
"I'm confident that if I can maintain the way I feel right now, I'm confident I can be effective," Halladay said. "
Halladay said there were no disc in his back, just "normal wear and tear." Disc issues affected Roy Oswalt during the end of his time in Philadelphia.
Halladay was asked a couple of questions about his contract, which will expire after this season, provided he does not pitch at least 259 innings, which would trigger a vesting option in the three-year, $60 million deal he signed after the Phillies acquired him from the Blue Jays after the 2009 season.
Halladay said that he cannot picture himself going through free agency again, and that he would like to retire with the Phillies, but that no dialogue has taken place, nor has he thought about the fact that no dialogue has taken place.
"I'm playing to win a World Series," he said. "If I had my druthers, I would be here until I am done."