06/06/07 1:55 AM ET
Mechanics, not injury, hurt Halladay
Jays ace says that his injury has no bearing on his pitching
By Jordan Bastian / MLB.com
On Tuesday, Halladay made his second start since being activated from the 15-day disabled list and the former American League Cy Young Award winner allowed eight runs (seven earned) in just 3 1/3 innings against the Devil Rays. Halladay could've easily blamed his recent health issues, but he refused to use that as an excuse.
"I feel good. I didn't feel like I had any problems bouncing back after my last start," Halladay said after Toronto's dramatic 12-11 comeback win on Tuesday. "I tried to do everything I could. There's been times when you keep grinding, you keep trying to make pitches and make adjustments, and sometimes those things just don't work out.
"You've just got to continue grinding to find a way. I wasn't able to do it in the game. I'll do everything I can to correct it before the next start."
Halladay, who is 5-2 with a 4.63 ERA this year, landed on the DL after being rushed to a Toronto hospital for an appendectomy on May 11. In his two starts prior to the surgery, Halladay picked up consecutive losses after giving up 16 runs on 23 hits over just 10 1/3 innings in outings against the Rangers and Red Sox.
At the time, Halladay -- 1-2 with a 10.02 ERA in his last four starts -- also said his health woes weren't part of the problem. Instead, he said he was having trouble keeping his hand on top of the baseball during the delivery of certain pitches. It's a similar issue that he noticed in his most recent trip to the mound, when he gave up consecutive home runs for the first time in his career.
"The two biggest things I notice is the location wasn't that good and everything's kind of traveling uphill," Halladay said. "Those are two things I notice and it was that way before. So, I just have to get back to making pitches and I have to get on top of the ball. I feel like that's important for me, and it's just been hard getting back to where I need to be."
That latest outing was a drastic contrast from his first start off the DL. On Thursday, Halladay turned in seven shutout innings and struck out seven in a victory against the White Sox. He outdueled Chicago left-hander Mark Buehrle, who allowed just two hits in a complete-game performance.
During that start, Halladay said his mechanics were fine, and he experienced good success with his cut fastball -- a pitch he has spent a lot of time refining recently. Halladay dismissed the notion that any added adrenaline might've helped him get through that first start off the DL, again only blaming faulty mechanics for the unfortunate turnaround.
"It wasn't like a first start of the season or anything like that," Halladay said. "It kind of felt like right back to where I was. I don't think that played a big part in it. Again, it's execution. I know it sounds repetitive, but I think that's the biggest thing."
Despite Halladay's claims that health doesn't factor into the equation, Toronto manager John Gibbons said he believed fatigue may still be an issue. When Halladay had surgery, doctors first indicated that it could take as long as four-to-six weeks for the pitcher to return. Halladay set a personal goal of coming back in three weeks, which he met.
"The way I look at it, it's only his second start back," Gibbons said. "He was so good his last time out, but he's still got to build up the stamina again and everything. We're not worried about him, though."
Halladay added that the issue might take time to fix.
"It's just back to the drawing board," Halladay said. "It's not going to be an overnight fix. It's going to be something that I really have to be conscious of correcting, especially in side work. To me, that's going to be the biggest focus is to try to avoid going back to some of those things that I'm doing right now."
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.