Halladay brushes off questions about his health, velocity

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Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com spoke with Roy Halladay about the report of his diminished velocity and the speculation that maybe he has a physical problem.  Halladay ain’t having it. First on the idea of any health problems:

“Yeah, I heard about that … Poor reporting on the extreme end of poor reporting. It couldn’t be further from the truth.”

To be fair to Ken Rosenthal, who wrote the article to which Halladay refers, he wasn’t reporting that Halladay had health problems. He quoted a scout who speculated it.  Whatever the case, however, you take the player’s word for it unless and until the information at hand contradicts it. Halladay’s health is fine.

As for the velocity, Halladay blames age:

“Yeah, I’m 34 and 2,500 innings. It does take a while to get going. I don’t pay attention to that. The older you get, the more you throw, the longer it takes you to get yourself going … 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.”

I have a very strong feeling that this will be forgotten about — and laughed about if it is remembered — come the end of the month.  But given the injuries to Howard and Utley, the rotation, once again, has to be stellar. So it’s not totally unreasonable to get mildly freaked about Halladay at the moment.  As long as it stays mild.

Bartolo Colon ain’t doing so hot this year

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If he wasn’t 44 years-old we’d just call it a slump, but the way Bartolo Colon is pitching right now makes you wonder if the end is nigh.

Colon was shelled this afternoon, giving up seven runs on ten hits and walking three in five innings of work to take the loss against the Pirates. That brings his ERA up to 6.96 on the year. He’s allowed five or more runs in five of his ten starts and opposing batters are hitting .320 against him. One of the big reasons he had been so effective into his 40s had been his low walk rate — he led the NL in this category for the past two seasons — but he’s walking more guys this year than last.

The Braves picked up Colon for the reasons a lot of rebuilding teams pick up veteran starters: to provide innings and stability until the younger arms of the future can mature. Colon, however, has been the weakest link of the Braves rotation.

At some point, every baseball player reaches the end. Almost all of them do it before the age of 44. One hopes, given his history and popularity that Colon is just experiencing a rough patch and that, by mid season, he’ll be reliably pumping strikes into the zone the way he has the past few seasons. But with each bad start he registers this year, that’s seeming like more and more of a stretch.

Braves designate Josh Collmenter for assignment

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Last night Braves reliever Josh Collmenter surrendered three homers and seven runs in the 10th inning of a loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. He came into the game when it was tied 5-5 so, yeah, ouch. Today Collmenter is on his way to no longer being a Braves reliever as he has been designated for assignment.

Collmenter made 11 appearances for the Braves, going 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA in 17 innings. If he doesn’t latch on someplace else he can take heart that his final act in the big leagues was striking out former MVP Andrew McCutchen. If only he hadn’t surrendered consecutive homers to David Freese, Jose Osuna and Jordy Mercer just before that. Oh well. Take the good with the bad.

Right-hander Matt Wisler, who has been no great shakes in the bigs himself, was called up from Triple-A Gwinnett before today’s series finale against the Pirates. He’s currently throwing mopup duty for Bartolo Colon, who got shelled for seven runs in four innings.

Given how Colon is going, maybe the Braves will be thinking about some more transactions soon.