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Could Roy Halladay injury bring Roy Oswalt back to Phillies?

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With Roy Halladay scheduled for a Tuesday appointment with team doctor Michael Ciccotti, you can almost feel the Phillies’ season hanging in the balance.Halladay: Lee/Associated Press

Halladay’s ailing right shoulder may be nothing more than some inflammation that will respond favorably to a 15-day disabled list hiatus.  

But, when one considers the series of curious events surrounding Halladay this season, it is easy to worry that his incredible right shoulder may be experiencing some legitimate problems.  

It all began with the spring training reports that Halladay’s velocity was down.  Halladay and every member of the coaching staff and front office assured us that he was perfectly fine during the spring and also throughout a stretch of seven early season games that saw his ERA climb from 1.17 to 3.58.   Finally, there was Sunday’s ominous outing, which saw Halladay serve up his second grand slam of the month on his way to a second inning exit.

When one considers that Halladay’s diminished velocity was first noticed in early mid-March, and we are now in late-May, it would seem possible that Dr. Ciccotti will diagnose some sort of problem that will put Halladay on the shelf for at least a couple of weeks.   

If Ciccotti’s prescription is something more serious than a two-week stint on the bench, the Phillies’ options are pretty limited.  Some of the names being discussed  as possible fill-ins are Lehigh Valley’s Scott Elarton, Dave Bush and Tyler Cloyd.  

With the Phillies holding down last place in the National League East and with tic-tac sized bone chips floating around in Vance Worley’s elbow, Ruben Amaro Jr. may soon be looking for an acquisition that can sure up a starting rotation that once seemed impenetrable.

Perhaps the phone number of that acquisition is already programmed into Amaro’s phone.  

Fox Sports baseball insider Ken Rosenthal reported on Sunday that Roy Oswalt has thrown for four major league teams in the past two weeks, one of which was the Phillies.  
Roy Oswalt photo: Dilip Vishwanat, Getty Images
Oswalt’s asking price seems to be the only thing standing in the way of him joining someone’s starting rotation.  He is reportedly seeking a pro-rated salary of $7.5 million.  Apparently, the Phillies, Red Sox, Rangers and one other team have all backed away from that price tag.  

But, let’s suppose that Halladay’s shoulder is a much greater problem than Phillies fans have been led to believe.  What if the health of the Phillies’ ace is yet another example of a problem that the Phillies have downplayed until a breakdown made it impossible to keep from the public? 

In that scenario, Amaro and company will absolutely have to explore options for starting pitching.  With an offense that is inconsistent at best, the Phillies’ playoff hopes would be seriously jeopardized by starting an ailing Worley, Kyle Kendrick and a Scott Elarton-type veteran in three-fifths of their games.  

The fact that the Phillies have watched Oswalt pitch as recently as last week indicates that they were serious about keeping him in mind in case their starting pitching experienced any problems.  And now that Worley and Halladay have both developed health problems in the past week, there are sure to be some discussions of Oswalt among members of the Phillies’ front office.

If Oswalt is seeking $7.5 million for the remainder of the 2012 season, it could make the Phillies look for a cheaper option.  But, if Halladay’s injury is serious, a cheap journeyman simply won’t fill the void in their starting rotation. Oswalt, if healthy, may represent the team’s best opportunity to add an impact starting pitcher without a blockbuster trade or massive contract.  

Halladay’s visit to Dr. Ciccotti will provide some critical information for Phillies management and fans alike.  If the news follows the gloomy trend that has surrounded this team for the last eight months, Amaro could be flying to Weir, Mississippi in an attempt to bring back a solution to yet another problem.  

 

Matt Babiarz was born and raised in the Philadelphia area.  He graduated from the University of Alabama, but remained a very close observer of the Philadelphia sports scene.  He recently began covering the Phillies for Philly2Philly.com.   You can also read his work at Bleacherreport.com within the Philadelphia Phillies section. 

Matt can be contacted at mattbabz@comcast.net  

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Photos:
Oswalt: Associated Press
Oswalt Road: Dilip Vishwanat, Getty Images
Halladay: Lee/Associated Press