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The Strike Zone

Roy Halladay pulled in the first inning with 'arm fatigue' after topping out at 83 MPH

Roy Halladay left his start on Monday in obvious fatigue, sweating profusely and favoring his right arm. (Marc Serota/Getty Images) Roy Halladay left his start on Monday sweating profusely and favoring his right arm. (Marc Serota/Getty Images)

Roy Halladay threw just 16 pitches, none of them faster than 83 miles per hour, before being pulled from his start against the Marlins in Miami Monday night. Halladay walked two of the three batters he faced and threw just five strikes (two called, three resulting in contact) before Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee came to the mound to check on his former ace. After a brief conversation with Halladay, who looked defeated, head hung, shoulder slumped, dripping with sweat, Dubee called out manager Ryne Sandberg and trainer Shawn Fcasni. There wasn't much more conversation before Dubee signaled to the bullpen and Halladay came out of the game.

The start was Halladay's sixth since returning from mid-May shoulder surgery to repair a partial tear in his rotator cuff, a frayed labrum, and a bone spur. Three of his first five starts since returning were quality starts, and his ERA over that stretch was a respectable (though not necessarily for Roy Halladay) 4.28. Still, he walked more men than he struck out over that span, was averaging less than 88 miles per hour on his sinker (which was 91 last year and 93 when he won the Cy Young in 2011), and needed considerable luck on balls in play (.235 BABIP) simply to maintain what was still a below-average ERA.

The Phillies are calling Halladay's injury "arm fatigue" but that's just a label. Halladay's arm troubles clearly go far beyond fatigue.  From 2008 to 2011, Halladay averaged 242 innings per season and posted a 2.59 ERA, but over the last two seasons he has pitched  total of 218 1/3 innings while posting a 5.15 ERA. Halladay would have made just one more start this season even if this one had gone well, so his season is surely over [Update: Halladay made it official after the game]. Free agency awaits.

Prior to Monday night, Halladay looked like a candidate for a pillow contract, a short, incentive-laden deal with a low guaranteed salary. After what happened on Monday, however, one has to wonder if he will get more than a non-roster invitation to camp, or if he'll even pursue one. Two years after arguably deserving a second-straight Cy Young award (he finished second in the voting), Roy Halladay may be finished as a major league pitcher. Hopefully that will be comically inaccurate a year from now, but other than the fact that Halladay will now have five months to rest his arm, which he also had prior to this season, there's little reason for optimism.

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