After an original report indicated Halladay would be sidelined for 6-8 weeks with a lat strain, the Doc sought a second opinion. This past week in New York, Halladay met with Dr. David Altchek, the Mets’ team doctor who performed Johan Santana’s shoulder surgery back in 2010. Although there is no word on his ‘second opinion’ as of yet, Phillies officials have reported that Halladay will address the media Friday. This announcement may reveal a change in the story, but I’m not very optimistic.
First, there’s Altchek’s recent history. Earlier in April, he was sought after by Twins’ pitcher Scott Baker for a second opinion. After Twins’ doctors recommended minor surgery and short stint on the DL, Altchek came in and told Baker “he may want to sit down to hear this”. He recommended season-ending Tommy John surgery. I’m not implying that Dr. Altchek’s integrity will be compromised, but it doesn’t sit right with me that he is the New York Mets’ team doctor. On top of that, the Phillies have just flat out had bad luck with injuries this season. Howard’s status has been mysterious and ominous all season, Utley is slow to get back, Lee has been banged up, Worley has been banged up, Chooch sat out most of the Mets series with a strained hamstring…the list goes on. I wouldn’t be surprised if Halladay was sitting on the DL until August or later.
Like all Philadelphia fans, I’m optimistically pessimistic. When things are going poorly, we’re going to set the record for most losses by any sports franchise (that actually happened); and when things are going well, we’re going to win the World Series (also actually happened, twice). So when Doc is out there on the mound healthy, there is no limit to what he can do and where he can take this ball club. At the same time, with Halladay on the DL, this becomes a very average pitching staff. On an organization that thrives on shutdown pitching, an average staff is not going to get the job done. Unless Blanton, Kendrick, and Vance can really pick up the slack over the next two months, this Phillies team could find themselves in a very deep whole come August. Hopefully, Howard and Utley can hurry back to help these guys out with some run support. If not, we may see Cliff Lee pick out the smallest guy on the team and make an example of him again (Victorino).
All that being said, I will be sleeping with my fingers crossed tonight. Go Phils!