CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Phillies fans are on edge these days because of the uncertainties and mysteries surrounding the health of Ryan Howard and Chase Utley.
Wednesday didn't help.
FOXSports.com quoted two scouts who expressed concern about Roy Halladay's lack of velocity and sharpness in Grapefruit League games. The story never said Halladay was injured or might have arm problems, but implied something might be amiss when being mentioned alongside Howard, who is recovering from an infection near his left Achilles, and Utley, who has not played in a Spring Training game because of a chronic right knee condition.
Asked what he would he say about any speculation he might have a health issue, Halladay said, "Yeah, I heard about that. Poor reporting on the extreme end of poor reporting. It couldn't be further from the truth."
Of course, Halladay, who has a 10.57 ERA after three spring appearances, acknowledged his velocity is down.
"Yeah, I'm 34 and [have thrown] 2,500 innings, it does take a while to get going," he said. "I don't pay attention to that. The older you get, the more you throw, the longer it takes you to get yourself going. When I came up, I threw 98 [mph]. Last year, I was throwing 92-93. It's not unusual. When you get older, it takes you longer. The more innings you throw, the more it takes to get yourself going again.
"I think it's hard, the older you get and the more Spring Trainings you're around, you can try and have as much intensity as you can, but it's just not the same. I think once you get closer and you're really not working on stuff and you're trying to pitch, it's a little different level of competition. It's all part of it. Would I like to be throwing 98 right now? Yeah. That would be great. But I don't expect that's going to happen."
Asked how concerned he is about Halladay, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said, "Zero. Absolutely zero."