PHILADELPHIA - Another dreadful start won't do it. One more horrific outing after that won't change things. If you're wondering if a fifth awful start by Roy Halladay will alter the Phillies' plans for how they use the two-time Cy Young winner, you're wrong.
"Doc gets as long as he needs," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "And I think he'll get himself straightened out."
A short while before Amaro re-iterated the organization's commitment to Halladay, manager Charlie Manuel emphasized that doesn't expect the club to put a leash on the right-hander. Nor will he.
Manuel pointed to the way he handled the closer role in 2009. Even with the Brad Lidge's struggles - he blew 11 saves that season - he was loyal to him.
"To me, Brad was still probably the best I had," Manuel said. "If I was going to lose the game, it was going to be with Brad Lidge. I was committed to Brad Lidge. If I commit to you, then I commit to you. Whatever happens is going to happen."
No one is doubting that Halladay will do everything in his power to bounce back. He's known for an almost unrivaled work ethic that has him arriving at Bright House Field in Clearwater before security guards get there and for his postgame routine that is nearly an hour long, even if he has just thrown 120 pitches.
"I want to do what it takes to win," Halladay said. "I watch as much video as possible. Based on what I see that's how I approach it. Taking what you see and being able to execute it are two different things.
"I put in the time."
Manuel spoke briefly to Halladay, who's ERA skyrocketed to 14.73 after his second start, before Tuesday's game. Manuel admitted that when things are going bad, he worries about his players' confidence.
But Manuel doesn't plan on having a heart-to-heart with Halladay unless it's an absolute necessity.
"I try to leave everything possible that I can [to pitching coach Rich Dubee] until I have to talk to someone because when I was a hitting coach, I talked to my hitters," Manuel recalled. "I did all the work and nobody talked to them, and I liked it that way. I think the more people that are involved, the more it can get hacked up because I don't trust everyone."
Halladay was plagued by shoulder and back issues a season ago, and they kept him on the disabled list for nearly seven weeks. Many thought that once he got healthy, he'd revert back to form.
Then his velocity was lower than expected in spring training, he complained of lethargy during one start, was hindered by a stomach virus in another and his pitches during his two regular-season starts have lacked the movement that has frozen hitters for more than a decade.
The obvious question: Is he healthy?
"He hasn't been on an injury report one time this spring," Amaro said. "He hasn't complained of any pain. He just doesn't have the same velocity and we have to live with it."
Halladay is as intense as they come, and for people like that, admitting to pain doesn't come easily. Amaro, though, is certain he isn't hiding anything.
"I think after last year when he was reluctant to let us know how he was feeling, I think he understands the importance of that," Amaro said. "If he had pain, if he had discomfort, he wouldn't be pitching."
HELP ON THE WAY?
Delmon Young is getting closer to making his debut.
Amaro said Young, on the DL recovering from microfracture surgery on his ankle, played six innings in right field Tuesday in extended spring training. If he gets medically cleared, he could begin a rehab assignment in the next week.
"He's had a couple of fly balls he's made plays on, but nothing really challenging," Amaro said. "But he looks OK so far." He's moving around a little bit better every day, with a little less of a gimp every day, which is good."
Young was signed with the hopes that his bat would add some pop, something the current right fielders have not had. Coming into Tuesday's game, John Mayberry Jr., Laynce Nix and Ezequiel Carrera had combined to hit .136 (3-for-22) with just one extra-base hit in seven games. Normally a position that drives in runs, they haven't driven in a single run yet.
"He's running the bases," Amaro said. "He hasn't had to run the bases a lot because he hasn't been getting on all that much. Sometimes he swings the bat good, sometimes he doesn't. He's kind of inconsistent."