Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Roy Halladay underwent a successful arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder Wednesday afternoon. The long road to recovery, which Halladay hopes will allow him to pitch again in 2013, begins now.
The right-hander has struggled mightily this season for the Phillies, something that has been discouraging for fans in Philadelphia. He is off to the worst start of his 15-year career in which he posted a 2-4 record with an 8.65 earned run average and 35 strikeouts in 34 1/3 innings.
All signs point to Halladay not being able to pitch anymore this season, but considering he is a free agent at the end of the year, the 36-year-old has every reason to come back. Ideally, he will be able to toss a baseball again within the next six to eight weeks. If all goes well without any setbacks, he would then be able to make a return to the active roster sometime in early August.
“It was really the best-case scenario in our minds,” Phillies physician Dr. Michael Ciccotti said, according to Phillies.com. “If and when he feels that he is throwing with the velocity and the control that he’s comfortable with and effective, then we’d consider having him be back in a game situation. If all goes well as we and all Phillies fans hope, then it is possible that he may be able to pitch this season.
“But there are a lot of ifs between now and then. Does he get his motion back? Does he feel strong again? How is he when he is throwing a ball? There are a lot of things between now and then that might prevent that from happening.”
What made the surgery a no-brainer for Halladay is the possibility that it will extend his career for another few years.
“They said that my range of motion will be better, my location will be better and hopefully the velocity will be better,” Halladay told Phillies.com last week. “The doctor seemed pretty optimistic that if what they saw is correct, I could come back and be a lot more effective and have a chance to pitch this year and turn back the clock.”
At this point, it is all up to Halladay and Mother Nature if he will ever be effective on the mound again. He must consistently build his shoulder strength back up, while the natural motion of his arm must return. Even if both are accomplished, it is still a big question mark whether he will ever be able to sustain a role in the starting rotation for the Phillies or any other team.