Exactly when Halladay will be ready to make his next start is what everyone around the Blue Jays wants to know. The right-hander will miss his next turn in the rotation, which was scheduled for Wednesday against the Phillies on the road. The next time Toronto will require a starter is on Saturday for an away tilt against the Nationals.
That gives Halladay less than a week to test his leg to see if he will be able to take that start. On Saturday, Doc headed out to left field and played a light round of catch with Blue Jays pitching coach Brad Arnsberg on flat ground for around seven minutes.
"Just trying to keep my arm going," Halladay said.
Over the coming days, Halladay will likely have running drills and pitcher's fielding practice on the agenda.
So, what if Halladay informs the club that he can start on Saturday?
"Then, he'll pitch Saturday," Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi said. "At that point, we'll have crossed off everything, as far as he'll have run, he'll have done PFPs, he'll have gone through the checklist. We want Doc for the whole year. We don't want him just for his next start and then really get hurt."
Halladay, who leads the Major Leagues in wins (10) and innings (103) and has a 2.53 ERA, felt a sharp pain during his second pitch in the top of the fourth inning of Toronto's 7-3 loss to Florida on Friday. He attempted a warmup pitch in front of manager Cito Gaston and head trainer George Poulis, but the pitcher exited after still experiencing discomfort.
Prior to that injury-shortened appearance, Halladay had turned in at least seven innings in his 13 previous starts and was coming off two consecutive complete-game performances. Over his last 10 trips up the hill, including Friday's no-decision, Halladay has gone 7-0 with a 2.07 ERA, 62 strikeouts and nine walks over 74 innings.
In the event that Halladay is unable to start on Saturday, Toronto would need a replacement starter and the team could place its ace on the 15-day disabled list retroactively, if needed. On Wednesday, right-hander Scott Richmond will start in place of Halladay against Philadelphia. The Jays are hoping that is the only start Halladay will need to miss.
"I hope it's not too long," Gaston said. "We hope it's just days and not months."