Roy Halladay to begin rehab assignment Thursday, could return later this month

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Nearly three months removed from right shoulder surgery, Roy Halladay is ready to return to game action.

According to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said this afternoon that Halladay will begin a minor league rehab assignment Thursday with the team’s Gulf Coast League affiliate. He was given the go-ahead after making it through a simulated game Saturday and a bullpen session earlier today.

Halladay is slated to throw about 80-85 pitches on Thursday. Amaro indicated that he could require just two rehab starts, which would place his return in the final week of August.

“If everything continues to go in a straight line, he could be back after two (rehab) starts,” Amaro said. “But it depends on how he feels. You can’t crystal-ball it.”

Halladay posted an uncharacteristic 8.65 ERA over seven starts prior to surgery in May to have a bone spur removed from his right shoulder as well as a partially torn rotator cuff and frayed labrum repaired. While the Phillies will be playing out the string over the final five weeks of the season, it will present Halladay with an opportunity to showcase his health and effectiveness. The 36-year-old is due to hit free agency this offseason.

The Braves will be serving some insane food this season

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Lots of teams have crazy concession items and lots of them will circulate photos of the more gonzo ones in the coming week leading up to the baseball season. The Braves, however, have been one of the more aggressive players in the gimmick concession item game in recent years, and they just sent around a release talking about some of the stuff they, and their concessionaire, Delaware North, will be serving at their new ballpark, Sun Trust Park, in 2017.

Among them:a blackened catfish po boy, which is a blackened 6-ounce filet of catfish cut up among three tacos, with a cajun remoulade. Some BBQ beef brisket sliders. A double burger. An ice cream bar. They’re also going to have a regionally-inspired thing called “The Taste of Braves Country,” showcasing southern cooking from Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama. Which they’re calling “Braves Country.” Accurate enough, I guess, even if some of us are old enough to remember when they aspired to be a national team. Alas.

The big item, though, is this one:

It’s called the “Tomahawk Chop” sandwich. It’s a fried pork chop with collard green slaw and white BBQ sauce. It serves four and costs $26. I’m guessing it tastes fantastic, but I think the name is pretty cringeworthy for the same reason the cheer which gives it its name is. And, given the dynamics of the Braves move to their new stadium, the choice of BBQ sauce is . . . amusing? I dunno.

Anyway, enjoy, Braves fans.

Max Scherzer will not be ready for Opening Day

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Ten days ago Nationals ace Max Scherzer said he’d be ready for the start of the regular season. “I’m gonna do it,” Scherzer said.

[Ron Howard from “Arrested Development” voice] — No, he’s not:

Nationals manager Dusty Baker said that Max Scherzer is not on track to be the team’s opening day starter, and will most likely open the season as the third pitcher in the rotation.

He’s still projected to make it to the opening rotation, taking the hill, most likely, on Thursday April 6 against the Marlins. At least if the schedule doesn’t slip any more.

Scherzer, as you probably know, has a stress fracture in the knuckle of his right ring finger, which has messed with his preparation and has caused him to alter his grip a bit. As of now Stephen Strasburg will get the Opening Day nod.