Former Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay admitted at Wednesday's press conference that a lower back issue last spring led to the right hander altering his upper body mechanics and aggravating his shoulder. The result was a really crummy season for the likely Hall of Famer, substantially contributing to the Phillies' failure to win their sixth straight National League East title.
Per Matt Gelb at the Inquirer, Halladay's legendary workout routine has been altered, and he is "confident" that his back and shoulder injuries are behind him. For more details on the presser, please go read Mr. Gelb!
Halladay also dismissed the impact of any possible, permanent loss of velocity:
Halladay says his velocity reaching old levels isn't as important to him as being able to locate pitches.— Chris Branch (@ChrisBranchTNJ) February 13, 2013
First, let's establish that Halladay has not thrown a maximum effort pitch yet this spring, so for all reasonable purposes we don't *know* what's going on with him, velocity-wise.
That said, dismissing fastball velocity isn't such a smart thing. The Good Phight Blogger Emeritus Matt Swartz has written extensively on the subject, and found that the loss of even a couple miles per hour can have a tremendous effect on performance and results.
So it's great for Halladay to say that he's going to rely on his already tremendous command and control, but if his fastball sits at 89-90 MPH instead of 92-93, it's a pretty serious issue.
Stay tuned, in a few weeks we should get some reports on the radar gun readings. In the meantime, don't mind me, I'll just be sitting here wringing my hands.