Roy Halladay throws first bullpen session since landing on disabled list

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Chase Ultey is back in the lineup, Ryan Howard is playing in rehab games and Roy Halladay is throwing from a mound again. Don’t rule those Phillies out yet.

Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports that Halladay threw off a bullpen mound today for the first time since being placed on the disabled list one month ago with a lat strain. He threw 33 pitches in all and used his entire arsenal, after which Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee suggested that the rehabbing right-hander could be ahead of schedule.

“Again, we’re talking about a different animal,” Dubee said. “He might be a few days quicker than the doctors thought, but his work ethic might have something to do with that.”

The Phillies will see how Halladay responds tomorrow before scheduling his next bullpen session, but Dubee said that he’s “progressing very nicely.” The two-time Cy Young award winner was originally expected to miss six to eight weeks, which places his return in mid-to-late July. He may or may not need a minor league rehab assignment.

The Angels were the first team to use up all of their mound visits

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Last night’s Angels-Astros game was a long affair with a bunch of homers and the use of 11 pitchers in all. The Angels used six pitchers and all of that business led to plenty of conferences. Six, in fact, which is their allotment under the new rule capping mound visits. As far as I can tell, that makes the Angels the first team to use up all of their mound visits since the advent of the rule.

Sadly, they did not try to go for a seventh, thereby testing the currently unknown limits of the rule. Umpires have been instructed to not allow additional mound visits, but they cannot issue balls or tackle anyone or anything to enforce it. Presumably, if Maldonado had walked out to talk to Cam Bedrosian about the weather or where he was going to dinner after the game, the home plate umpire would’ve simply done the old Robin Williams English policeman’s bit of yelling “Stop! . . . or I shall yell ‘Stop!’ again!” Maybe a fine would issue later, but we’ll never know.

At least until someone breaks the limit. And we know someone will, right? We should have a betting pool on who does it.