CLEARWATER, Fla. — Roy Halladay used two meaningful words to alleviate concern over a terrible outing.
“Nothing hurts,” Halladay said.
Considering he’s coming off an injury-plagued year, that’s important news for the Philadelphia Phillies.
Ramon Santiago hit a grand slam and Don Kelly also homered off Halladay, leading the Detroit Tigers to a 10-6 win over the Phillies on Tuesday.
“The results aren’t satisfying and that’s obvious but the work we’ve done, there’s a lot of progress being made,” Halladay said. “I just felt lethargic. The good part is there’s no soreness, nothing hurts. I’ll trade that any day of the week feeling lethargic over being sore like last spring training where there were times you’re hurt.”
The Tigers roughed up the Halladay for seven runs in 2 2-3 innings. The two-time Cy Young Award winner allowed six hits and walked four in his poorest outing this spring. He came in with a 2.16 ERA in three starts.
“There’s definitely work to be done, adjustments to be made,” Halladay said, adding he’s increased the intensity of his workout program and threw an extra bullpen session between starts. “Being that it’s spring training and there’s so much to be worked on, so much to try and achieve at this point, I felt like it’s more important to work on this stuff now and I’d rather have that (feeling) now.”
Manager Charlie Manuel and pitching coach Rich Dubee seemed more worried than Halladay about his start.
“He says he’s healthy, he feels good and nothing’s wrong with him,” Manuel said. “It concerns me, but I’ve been in the game long enough that if nothing is wrong with him, just keep working with him.
Dubee blamed the results on Halladay’s mechanics.
“I would say there’s some concern, but most of it has to do with him having no tempo to his delivery,” Dubee said. “Nuances to delivery, guys fight that all the time.”
Halladay threw a perfect game, tossed a no-hitter in his first career postseason start, won a National League Cy Young Award and was 40-16 in his first two seasons in Philadelphia. But last year, he had his fewest wins (11) since 2004 and the second-worst ERA (4.49) in his career.
Given his problems last year, his age (35) and the amount of innings (2,687) he’s accumulated in 15 seasons with Toronto and the Phillies, it’s natural to assume Halladay is on the decline.
Dubee wouldn’t bet against the eight-time All-Star right-hander regaining his old form.
“His work ethic is still there, his desire is still there,” Dubee said. “I’ll take my chances.”
Halladay is entering the final season of a $60 million, three-year contract extension he signed after being traded to the Phillies in December 2009. He has a vesting option for $20 million for 2014, but it’s unlikely he’ll reach it because he has to throw 258 2-3 innings.
All that can wait until the season is over.
“My goal is to get to where the season starts and I can maintain the strength level the entire season,” Halladay said. “To do that, I have to build up as much as I can right now.”
Detroit starter Drew Smyly allowed three runs — two earned — and five hits in 3 1-3 innings, and Brayan Pena also went deep. Smyly hadn’t allowed a run in nine innings before this start.
NOTES: Chase Utley hit his first homer of the spring for the Phillies. Utley didn’t play any spring games the last two years because of chronic knee problems. ... RHP Tyler Cloyd, RHP B.J. Rosenberg, OF Tyson Gillies and C Sebastian Valle were among the players the Phillies optioned to minor league camp. ... LHP Raul Valdes threw three scoreless innings, helping his bid to fill a spot in Philadelphia’s bullpen. ... CF Ben Revere was 3 for 3 with two doubles, raising his spring average to .372 for Philadelphia. ... Tigers C Alex Avila was 3 for 4 with two doubles. .... The Tigers will play their annual exhibition game against Florida Southern College on Wednesday. ... The Phillies visit the New York Yankees for a night game Wednesday.