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Halladay expects to be ready for 1st start

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CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) - A slimmer Roy Halladay is optimistic he'll be ready when the season starts.

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Halladay said he lost about 10 pounds in two days because of a stomach virus, but still expects to pitch during the Phillies' first series at Atlanta. Cole Hamels already was named Philadelphia's opening-day starter and Halladay is slated for the second game on April 3.

``My stomach is a lot better,'' Halladay said Tuesday. ``Just trying to get strength back. I'm kind of a little bit weak and jittery right now I guess from not eating and passing a lot of fluids and stuff. I feel better. Just trying to get that strength and energy back.

``Hopefully each day I will get that strength back a little bit.''

Halladay left Sunday's start against Baltimore after one inning after feeling ill. The two-time Cy Young Award winner was coming off a rough outing that raised concerns about his health. But the 35-year-old righty insists he's not bothered by the lower back and shoulder problems that forced him to miss two months last year.

``My bullpen (sessions) have felt really good, and I felt good when I first started throwing in the bullpen,'' Halladay said of his start against the Orioles. ``Throwing today felt good. The arm slot and the stuff we are working on I think is there. I feel like I'm going in the right direction. It was just a bad time for a setback of not being able to get the pitches up to where I wanted to get to.''

Halladay said he would be ready to go when the season opens if he can throw about 75 pitches in his next start and at least 90 in his last spring outing.

``I think that if I continue to get stronger and stronger each day, I'll be fine,'' Halladay said. ``I haven't been on any teams where the first start of the season they let you go over 100 pitches. I think if I can get to 90 by the end of spring, I feel like I can throw 100 to 105.''

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.

The Phillies' streak of five-straight NL East titles ended last year with an 81-81 finish. They're counting on Halladay, Hamels and Cliff Lee to anchor the rotation and help them make another postseason run.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2014
The Associated Press
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