March 15, 2012

CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) -- Roy Halladay is just fine despite ugly numbers.

The two-time Cy Young Award winner said he's not injured and criticized a report suggesting something may be wrong with him because he's struggled in spring training.

Halladay got rocked for five runs and seven hits before getting yanked in the third inning of Philadelphia's loss to Minnesota on Wednesday. A report later surfaced quoting two unidentified scouts expressing concern that Halladay's velocity is down and his sharpness is off.

"Poor reporting on the extreme end of poor reporting," Halladay said Thursday. "It couldn't be further from the truth."

Halladay, an eight-time All-Star, has a 10.56 ERA in three spring starts. He acknowledged his velocity is down, but isn't worried because it's still early.

"Yeah, I'm 34 and (with) 2,500 innings, it does take a while to get going," he said. "I don't pay attention to that. The older you get, the more you throw, the longer it takes you to get yourself going. When I came up, I threw 98. Last year, I was throwing 92-93. It's not unusual. When you get older, it takes you longer. The more innings you throw, the more it takes to get yourself going again."

Halladay is 40-16 with a 2.40 ERA, 17 completes game and five shutouts in his two seasons with the Phillies. He threw a perfect game, a postseason no-hitter and won the NL Cy Young Award in 2010.

Halladay's success makes people expect dominant performances each time he takes the mound, even in meaningless exhibition games. Many pitchers use spring training to work on different pitches, grips, arm angles and various mechanics.

Halladay is no different. He understands the importance of making sure he's ready to go when the games matter, and even more so, in the postseason because the Phillies have World Series-or-bust aspirations.

"I think it's hard, the older you get and the more spring trainings you're around, you can try and have as much intensity as you can, but it's just not the same," he said. "I think once you get closer and you're really not working on stuff and you're trying to pitch, it's a little different level of competition. It's all part of it. Would I like to be throwing 98 right now? Yeah. That would be great. But I don't expect that's going to happen."

Neither pitching coach Rich Dubee nor teammates are concerned about Halladay's rough spring.

"He's a guy that can figure it out right away," catcher Carlos Ruiz said. "It's nothing we have to worry about because he said he feels great."

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