It's not Roy Halladay's shoulder. We know that know. He told us. Scott Sheridan serendipitously nodded, chiming in to answer questions aloud where needed. (Got a little med techy for a few there.)

Those are the loudest and most relieving takeaways from The Doc's impromptu chat with media types at team facilities Wednesday, his first public comments since his injury and second opinion for it. We got information, and straight from the tap. Sheridan is the foremost representative on these matters for the club. Halladay holds the same role for Roy Halladay, LLC.

No secrecy. No equivocation. All straight shooting. (So far as we know...)

What we learned?

Structures (And Stuff)

Apparently (who knew?) the strain to Halladay's lat(issimus dorsi) has nothing to do with his rotator cuff, which, in a tie for first with his UCL, is the foremost structure responsible for Halladay being the boss that he is. (If that goes, well...) Sheridan confirmed as much multiple times. I repeat: So far as we're being told (big caveat there) Halladay's affliction is isolated to the big, wingy muscle that runs down each side of your back.

Schedules

Much to Sheridan's dismay, Halladay even laid out timeline. (A TIMELINE!!!) To date, Halladay hasn't started "testing" (a word Halladay used repeatedly) his limits. Pretty vague verbiage. But we know this much: His rehab is not yet an aggressive one, and doesn't look to be for at least another three weeks. (That's when Halladay says "he'll start throwing," which, at least to me, means he hasn't yet.) That's right: A TANGIBLE milestone, one that Halladay said would prove a better indicator of his status, and a seeming goal for when he'll start to push himself for realsies.

Said Halladay: "At this point, it's not something we're testing. As we get closer to that three-week (mark) is when we'll start testing it a little bit. Basically, that'll tell us when we can start throwing."

Other good news: He said he's responded well to presumably lighter-type workouts he's done thus far.

Said Halladay: "It feels good doing the exercises. I have no problems doing any of that. And it's not something I feel when I'm laying in bed. It was never that way. It was only when I was throwing in certain positions."

"V" For Velocity

Oh yeah. Some ballsy reporter went there. Had to. Because it's one thing for us to observe, poll scouts, pore through Pitch F/X data for what arm does. But only Halladay can answer how it feels.

He did.

Said Halladay: "I (feel) like it's still there. You know, I can tell when it doesn't feel like it's coming out the right way. There were plenty of times this year when I felt like it was. And there were times when (I gave) everything I had, and it wasn't coming out the right way. I feel like it's there."

Maybe buried, under a few scorched layers of fraying, overrun-over-the-years muscle fibers. But still there, according to Halladay.

Maybe best of all -- and forgive me for going all Walden Pond or Grateful Dead or whatever here -- Halladay's realistic about the issue, about aging and slowing and, ultimately, the very mortality that's dialed him up of late for an unexpected check-in. Think that's a positive moving forward, that Halladay's going to embrace these inevitable changes to his body. (Even if that means taking up the mantra of pre-menopausal 45-year-olds worldwide.)

Said Halladay: "I don't feel like I'm gonna be throwing 98 (m.p.h.) in a couple of years. I understand that. I understand it's a gradual process and you're probably gonna lose a little here or there. But as much as I can maintain or stay at an even level, I'm going to do that."

What a guy! What a segue!

Speaking of things Halladay's going to be doing...

Outlook

Needless to say -- except for, maybe, Halladay to admit -- dude's no spring chicken. With a ton of miles on the odometer, and with this latest scare (can we call it a scare yet?), much consideration has to be aimed at his use moving forward. And yeah. That has contract implications. Halladay addressed them both. Splendidly.

Said Halladay, on his contract situation: "It's a year and a half away. Ultimately, my goal is to finish my career with the Phillies and win a World Series here. Some of those things are not fully in my control, but my intent is to play here and finish my career here and be here as long as I can."

Thing is, it's not "a year and a half away." This stuff starts now. Because if you remember -- and if not, I'll remind you -- that pesky little vesting option in his contract that, at least for a guy whose injury history has read less like a textbook than a flyer, seemed a sure thing can only trigger automatically (neither Halladay nor the team has any say) and only under ALL the following conditions:

1. 225 IP in 2013

2. 415 IP in 2012-13 combined

3. Halladay is not on disabled list at end of 2013 season

Items Nos. 1 and 2? Looking a little shaky right about now. (As Matt Gelb duly noted two days ago.)

That aside, if this thing drags on to the end where Halladay isn't automatically re-upped for the 2014 Phils roster, you'd have to think the Phils would be a little shaking on doling out iffy money voluntarily, all things considered.

Speaking of value...

Said Halladay, on whether he thinks he'll still be able to go nine strong: "I've always felt like the games I've pitched deeper in -- complete games and stuff -- I feel like I'm more efficient in those games. Usually when I hit 130 or 125, I feel like I'm scuffling through seven or eight innings. So I still feel like I'm gonna be able to do that."

Sound logic. But better? The numbers -- Halladay's top 20 pitch counts since 2010 -- back it up. Only six of that upper subset did Halladay go the distance. Peep the list for yourself.

Rk Date Tm Opp Rslt AppDec IP H R ER BB SO Pit
1 5/18/2010 PHI PIT L  1-2 CG 9  L 9 9 2 2 1 6 132
2 4/24/2011 PHI SDP W  3-1 GS-9  W 8.2 5 1 1 1 14 130
3 5/25/2011 PHI CIN W  5-4 GS-7 7 11 3 3 1 6 123
4 4/13/2011 PHI WSN W  3-2 CG 9  W 9 6 2 2 2 9 123
5 8/16/2011 PHI ARI L  2-3 CG 9  L 9 8 3 3 1 14 122
6 5/12/2010 PHI COL L  3-4 GS-7 6.1 10 3 2 2 4 121
7 9/9/2011 PHI MIL W  5-3 GS-8  W 8 4 1 1 3 9 120
8 4/21/2012 PHI SDP L  1-5 GS-7  L 7 5 2 2 4 5 119
9 5/15/2011 PHI ATL L  2-3 CG 8  L 8 8 3 3 2 7 119
10 6/30/2010 PHI CIN L  3-4 CG 8  L 8 13 4 4 0 10 119
11 5/6/2010 PHI STL W  7-2 GS-7  W 7 7 2 1 3 9 119
12 6/10/2010 PHI FLA L  0-2 GS-8  L 8 6 1 1 1 8 118
13 5/1/2010 PHI NYM W 10-0 SHO9  W 9 3 0 0 1 6 118
14 9/4/2010 PHI MIL W  5-4 GS-7  W 7 7 4 4 2 6 117
15 7/10/2010 PHI CIN W  1-0 GS-9 9 5 0 0 1 9 117
16 7/24/2011 PHI SDP W  5-3 GS-8  W 8 8 3 2 1 8 116
17 7/8/2011 PHI ATL W  3-2 GS-7 7 6 2 2 0 7 116
18 5/20/2011 PHI TEX W  3-2 GS-8  W 8 6 2 2 1 7 116
19 9/10/2010 PHI NYM W  8-4 GS-8  W 7.2 8 4 4 0 5 116
20 8/20/2010 PHI WSN W  1-0 GS-7  W 7 8 0 0 3 5 116

 

Not that we're endorsing that Halladay continue to grind himself to chalk. (Though we'll note that it's kind of funny that we put Mike Vick on blast for his style of play, yet laud what teeters on foolhardiness by Halladay. Maybe a TIP2 for tomorrow? SPOILER!!!) But, at least according to both Halladay's anecdotal and Baseball Reference's trusty play index statistical data, it seems he could.

Again: Assuming he comes back healthy.

Halladay reiterated that he's going to do everything he can to stay that way. (Though he does admit that he pushed himself (maybe) beyond the brink in order to get a better handle on the adjustments he was trying to make.

Said Halladay: "It's gonna be important to monitor the throwing, and that was kind of a tough part for me throughout this process. I felt like I had adjustments that needed to be made. But at the same time, we went through a stretch of seven or eight starts on five days rest. I was delicate of how much I could throw in-between and work on what I needed to and how much I needed to rest. But I think that's going to be important going forward, monitoring those in-between days with the training staff. It's been very good these first two years here. I don't see any difference in that."

Here's to hoping we soon see a very different Halladay, on a number of fronts.