Halladay feels he's 'going in right direction'

Halladay feels he's 'going in right direction'

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Roy Halladay is 10 pounds lighter, but he said he feels better.

Halladay lasted just one inning in Sunday's Grapefruit League start against the Orioles at Bright House Field because of a stomach virus. That followed serious struggles in 2 2/3 innings March 12, which he attributed to lethargy because of a more rigorous workout program and throwing two bullpen sessions in-between starts.

It has been an interesting spring for Halladay, who has been trying to prove he can bounce back from a disappointing 2012.

"I feel like I'm going in the right direction," Halladay said before Tuesday's game against the Yankees. "Just bad timing for a setback."

Halladay, whose velocity has been in the 85-88-mph range in his last three starts, said he hopes to throw a bullpen session Wednesday and pitch Saturday against the Orioles in Sarasota. He said he thinks he can get enough work in during his final two Spring Training starts to be ready for the season. He is scheduled to pitch the second game of the season, April 3 in Atlanta.

"From today on, if I continue to get stronger and stronger each day, I'll be fine," Halladay said. "If I can go out and throw 75 pitches my next start … I think 75 is realistic. The time after that, if I get to 90 or maybe a couple over 90, then it's easy to go 105 to 110 or whatever. I haven't been on any teams where the first start of the season they let you go over 100 pitches. If I can get to 90 by the end of spring, I feel like I can throw 100-105."

Halladay has maintained he is otherwise healthy, but has mostly been having problems with his mechanics. He said he could not tell if he improved in that area Sunday, although others told him they saw improvement.

"My [bullpen sessions] have felt really good, and I felt good when I first started throwing in the bullpen," he said. "Throwing today felt good. The arm slot and the stuff we are working on, I think, is there."

Halladay said if he is not strong enough to throw a bullpen session Wednesday, the possibility exists he could be pushed back a day or two at the beginning of the season. In one scenario, right-hander Kyle Kendrick could start the second game of the season and Halladay could start the home opener against the Royals at Citizens Bank Park on April 6.

"I'm sure there are a lot of options, but I think all of it is going to depend on day to day," Halladay said. "If I come in tomorrow and feel weak and don't feel like I can throw a [bullpen session], that's going to change things. But I think day to day is what's most important. The plan for me would be to do what we said, throw a [bullpen session], pitch, then pitch one more time before the end of spring and go into the season. But if it doesn't go exactly that way, I'm sure there are other ways to look at it.

"I feel like it's there. I feel like I've made the strides that I need to make but just really haven't got to test it. That was really kind of the most disappointing thing about it. I told [Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.] that night, as sick as I felt on the mound, I almost feel worse because I didn't get to see the results that I wanted to see. I guess you just have to be patient and let it do its thing. There are things that you can control, and you worry about that. I'm going to continue to worry about what I can control and do as much as I can to be as effective and as good as I can be on Opening Day."

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.