CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Roy Halladay isn't starting Opening Day.
Much is made about the Opening Day starter, but the person who might care least is Halladay, who has started Opening Day each of the previous three seasons with the Phillies. Cole Hamels is expected to get the nod, although the Phillies have not made an official announcement.
"I think the commitment they made to him last year," Halladay said referring to Hamels' six-year, $144 million contract extension, "it's his time. He's been here for a long time, he's had a lot of success here. There aren't many teams where you have a World Series MVP and then you bring in four to five guys to pitch in front of him. It should have been his spot a long time ago. I think it's something he's going to embrace. And really, after Opening Day, we're all five days apart anyway.
"I talked to him about it when we're going out and doing drills, stuff like that, it's time for him now to kind of step up and take charge in those situations and establish himself as the head of the staff."
That's a pretty significant endorsement from a potential Hall of Famer.
Halladay has bigger fish to fry, anyway. He is trying to bounce back from a disappointing 2012. So far, he said, everything has gone well. He has thrown to hitters twice, and in each situation he has worked on improving his location.
"I feel good," Halladay said. "I feel good with where I'm at right now. There's a long way to go in camp and there's still a lot of things to accomplish but I'm happy with the way I feel and the way things are going. I haven't had a day where I've been sore from the core up. Those first couple of days, you're going to be sore. Your legs will be sore from the drills and stuff, but from the core up I haven't been sore and that's a good sign. When you're trying to play catchup early in camp and you're trying to keep your arm going, that's the tough part of Spring Training. If you can avoid that, that's always a good sign, so I feel good going forward."
Halladay makes his first Grapefruit League start Sunday against the Tigers in Lakeland, Fla. He said he will not be worried so much about the hitters as how he feels about his location and conditioning.
"You're not really throwing your full arsenal," he said. "What the hitters do isn't so important to me now. I know what I'm looking for those first couple time outs, and that's my goal to go out and execute the pitches I want to execute and not be overly concerned with the swings and what have you."