Halladay vs. prospect: 'Pretty nasty'

Halladay vs. prospect: 'Pretty nasty'

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- It sometimes goes like this the first time pitchers throw live batting practice in Spring Training:

The pitchers pitch, and the hitters take.

Well, not all of them. But many simply like to track the ball to get their timing back. That is exactly how Chase Utley, Raul Ibanez and others treated their Thursday morning session against Roy Halladay on Ashburn Field at the Carpenter Complex. They watched Halladay throw cutters and sinkers and changeups, and they never took a cut.

Domonic Brown took a different approach.

"I was trying to get in there, see a few pitches and try to hit the long ball off him," joked Brown, whom MLB.com ranks the 14th-best prospect in baseball. "But it was pretty nasty, man. Pretty nasty. It was tough for me. Roy was throwing his cutter, and everything was moving. He has a nasty sinker. But it was exciting. It was such a great experience for me."

Brown is not the first hitter to use the word "nasty" when describing Halladay's pitching repertoire. But it was entertaining to watch the Phillies' top prospect take a few hacks against arguably the game's best pitcher, even if it meant nothing.

At one point, Brown, who fouled off two pitches and missed a third, noticed that nobody else was swinging and asked Ibanez if he should be trying.

"I kind of felt bad," Brown explained.

Brown made contact on his second swing, fouling off a sinker down and away.

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"He had me on my front foot looking nasty," he said. "I was seeing it, but once it comes out of his hand, it's moving. He doesn't throw anything straight. That's the tough part of it."

"It's tough at this point for any of them," Halladay said. "Obviously it's their first time seeing pitchers. They're trying to see the ball as much as they can."

Halladay said he got what he wanted from the session.

"Just being able to work both sides of the plate with somebody standing there is always nice," he said. "You kind of start to get a feel, especially pitching inside."

Carlos Ruiz caught Halladay and came away impressed. He said Utley, who normally doesn't say much, looked back at Ruiz a couple times after watching a couple of Halladay's sinkers.

Kind of like, "We're supposed to hit that?"

"You could see it in his face," Ruiz said with a smile. "His sinker impressed me. So did his cutter. Every pitch was in the strike zone. He's the kind of guy who can go long in the game, because he's going to throw a lot of strikes. He'll go seven, eight innings easy. That's what I saw today."

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