February 1 Philadelphia Inquirer:
“EVEN IF THE Phillies training staff had to reinforce his groin with duct tape, Roy Halladay was going to pitch in the World Series. This city learned enough about the 2010 NL Cy Young winner during his first season in town to know that he would not let a muscle strain on the lower half of his body prevent him from performing on the game’s biggest stage. But if there is a silver lining to the Phillies’ upset loss to the Giants in the National League Championship Series, it lies in the 2 weeks of rest their undisputed ace was afforded to recuperate. While the Giants roared to a victory over the Rangers in the World Series, Halladay sat back and nursed the injury that sapped his velocity during his gritty six-inning effort in the Phillies’ 4-2 victory in Game 5 of the NLCS.
“After 2 weeks, I felt good and it was back into the regular offseason program,” said Halladay, who was in town last night to accept the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association’s Most Valuable Professional Athlete award at the organization’s annual banquet. “After that 2 weeks, it was really completely gone as far as I could tell.”
Now, the focus is on maintaining his health.
For all of the platitudes that have been spilled in the month-and-a-half since the Phillies signed lefthander Cliff Lee to a 5-year, $120 million deal, anybody who follows baseball knows that destiny can be undone with one fateful slip of a disk or tear of a muscle. Charlie Manuel and Ruben Amaro Jr. are in an enviable position in the sense that even one serious injury still will leave them with three starters capable of starting Game 1 of a playoff series. But for Halladay, Lee, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt to achieve the history that many are forecasting, good health could be the great decider.
With that in mind, Halladay has added extra focus toward building strength and flexibility in his lower body and core. In addition to the NLCS, the 34-year-old righthander battled a groin strain during the 2009 season. Factor in the career-high 272 2/3 innings he logged during the regular season and postseason, and the month of offseason he lost with his first-ever trip to the playoffs, and Halladay finds himself in unchartered waters for one of the few times in his 12-year career.
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