The Philadelphia Phillies aren't simply hoping that Roy Halladay can rebound this year. They need him to start 30 effective games during the 2013 season. If he is unable to do so, the team's rotation might be in trouble.
After last season's back, shoulder and arm issues began to evidence themselves in spring training, Halladay attempted to pitch through pain during the first third of the regular season. With clearly reduced velocity and the need for rest obvious to everyone, “Doc” was put on the disabled list.
After he returned from the sick bay it was clear that 2012 was going to be a rough year. However, hope existed that an offseason of rest would help his middle-aged body to heal.
Heading into spring training this year Halladay spoke about a revised training schedule that he adhered to during the winter and seemed optimistic about rounding back into form. Thus far, his spring numbers are worse than last year.
His 7.36 ERA and 1.64 WHIP through 11 innings are troubling, with the only hope being that the regular season has yet to begin.
It's difficult to imagine that the more than 2,700 combined regular and postseason innings his right arm has thrown are magically going to evaporate from his digital baseball card. But, suspension of belief might be all that's left for the best right-handed starter in the game over the past decade.
The baseball world hasn't confirmed if Halladay is working at the tail end of his career. But, a consensus is sure to form, in one direction or another, as the 2013 season plays out.