Phillies to give Roy Halladay time

PHILADELPHIA -- Roy Halladay has a 14.73 ERA after two starts. But Philadelphia Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Tuesday that the ace pitcher is in no danger of running out of time to fix what ails him.

Asked how much time the Phillies can afford to give Halladay to straighten himself out, Amaro told ESPN.com: "As much as he needs. He's Roy Halladay. He'll figure it out."

Halladay lasted just four innings Monday against the New York Mets in his second start of the year, allowing seven runs on six hits and three walks and a hit batter.

After an alarming spring training during which he had a 6.06 ERA and allowed 21 hits and nine walks in 16 1/3 innings, Halladay already has permitted 19 baserunners in 7 1/3 innings over his first two regular-season starts.

Halladay has had to throw 194 pitches just to record 22 outs, and his average fastball velocity has dipped below 90 mph for the first time in his career. His manager, Charlie Manuel, has admitted to being "concerned" about Halladay.

But when Amaro was asked how difficult it was to know how much rope his team could give a struggling pitcher of Halladay's stature, the GM said the club wasn't looking at it that way.

"I don't think it's about rope," Amaro said. "I think it's more about him just going back to the basics. He just needs to throw more strikes and be more aggressive in the strike zone. Maybe because his velocity, and the stuff that he has, has backed up on him a little bit, he thinks he needs to do something different.

"But for me, it's about throwing more strikes. And I think he realizes that."

Halladay threw first-pitch strikes to only 11 of the 22 hitters he faced Monday. And Amaro conceded the 35-year-old right-hander may have shown some reluctance to challenge hitters early in the count, because batters have been hitting his fastball and cutter harder than at any time in his career.

"That's probably the case. But ... if he gets back to being consistent in the strike zone and staying aggressive in the strike zone, he'll be successful," Amaro said. "He's still got pretty good movement on his stuff. He just doesn't have command. He gets behind hitters, and he has deep counts, and having to throw it over the plate at that point makes it easier for the hitters."

During the telecast of Monday's game, ESPN showed video documenting Halladay's arm angle lower than in the past. Amaro said the club and Halladay are conscious of that, and that he and pitching coach Rich Dubee have been working since spring training to raise Halladay's arm slot closer to where it has been in the past.

"We're aware of it," the GM said. "But that doesn't mean he can't have success doing it (from a lower angle). It's just varied a little bit from time to time, and I think they're still working on it."

Despite the lower arm angle and Halladay's rough start, Amaro said the Phillies don't see any evidence that Halladay is hurt.

"He hasn't been on one report from our trainer," Amaro said. "We haven't had any reason to feel we have to shut him down. Just right now, his stuff's not there, and he hasn't been throwing strikes. But if he throws more strikes, we think he can still have success."