03/29/2013 10:30 PM ET
Phillies confident with Halladay as second starter
By Mike Radano / Special to MLB.com
PHILADELPHIA -- For all of the positives that have come out of this spring for the Phillies -- the healthy returns of Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, the solid defense at third by Michael Young and the emergence of Domonic Brown -- it's hard not to escape the concern over Roy Halladay.
Halladay has had a myriad of issues, ranging from the flu to a dead arm, which has raised red flags for an organization that has leaned heavily on its ace over the past three seasons. Halladay's struggles were well documented last year, and even with Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee, the key to the rotation in many minds is how Halladay rebounds from 2012.
"Right now it definitely looks like Halladay," said manager Charlie Manuel, when asked who would start on Wednesday in Atlanta in the second game of the season. "We're thinking about splitting our lefties up."
On the surface, that makes sense. Why have Hamels -- the Opening Day starter for the first time in his career -- and Lee go back to back when you can mix it up? Still, Halladay's final line in his last spring start was two runs on eight hits over 4 1/3 innings, which didn't ease the concerns back in Philadelphia.
"We're concerned about his spring, yeah," Manuel said. "But the last few times out there, he's gotten better. I think he's ready to go. Talking to Roy, he's ready to pitch."
Manuel likely to keep Rollins in leadoff spot
PHILADELPHIA -- Since Charlie Manuel took over as the manager of the Phillies, one thing has always been clear -- Jimmy Rollins was his leadoff hitter.
Part of that has been Rollins' production at the top of the lineup. Never a prototypical leadoff hitter, there have been steady debates in Philadelphia about whether the best option was to move Rollins down in the lineup.
For Manuel, Rollins in the leadoff spot has to do in part with loyalty, his strong track record and what other options were available. Now, with Ben Revere starting in center, Manuel finally has an option that makes some sense.
"In Spring Training, I was a little surprised that I saw a good offensive player [in Revere]," Manuel said. "He's a guy who makes contact, can move the ball all over the field, he can bunt, he is aggressive on the bases. I was a little bit surprised about it."
Revere started in the top spot on Friday night against the Toronto Blue Jays and Rollins hit second. Some may see that as a sign, and yet Manuel may have tipped his hand before the game as he thought about Rollins.
"I think that Jimmy has been a better option than anyone we've had," Manuel said. "Basically, we'll get to see how our team goes. I like Jimmy Rollins leading off for a couple of things. One of them is the runs he produces from the leadoff spot. You may ask how he produces runs from the leadoff spot. Well, he's knocking in the seventh, eighth and ninth hole hitters. How does he do it? By knocking doubles, triples and homers."
As this season progresses, maybe the manager will make a change, but as for the start of the year, don't expect him to go away from what's been successful for the past eight seasons.
Mike Radano is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.