Roy Halladay’s depressing spring training ends on a mediocre note

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One can only hope that Roy Halladay has a different gear for the regular season than he’s had this spring, because it hasn’t been all that encouraging. Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com has the wrapup from his final outing:

The righthander pitched 4 1/3 innings and allowed eight hits and two runs before leaving the game at his prescribed limit of 96 pitches.

Halladay has struggled much of the spring with ineffectiveness and diminished velocity. On the plus side, his velocity was better Thursday. His fastball sat between 88 and 90 mph, according to one scout, and he touched 91 mph. The pitcher’s command, however, was an issue. He was consistently up in the strike zone and at one point threw 10 balls in an 11-pitch stretch.

He walked two and struck out six. For the spring, Doc posted a 6.06 ERA in 16 and a third innings while allowing 21 hits while walking nine and striking out 16.

Silver lining: many have said that Halladay spent much of the spring trying to build up arm strength, so maybe being fine was not his primary goal.  The scary part: a lot of people say that about spring training.

A.J. Hinch responds to Ken Giles’ negative comments about Astros

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On Sunday, Blue Jays closer Ken Giles spoke to Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star. Giles said, “I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston.” Giles won a World Series with the Astros last year, but talked about communication issues with the Astros and compared them unfavorably to the Blue Jays. Giles described the communication as having been “lost” and credited the Jays for staying patient with him.

Astros manager A.J. Hinch responded to Giles’ comments on Monday. Per Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi, Hinch said:

I think he’s wrong and I’m disappointed that he would go down that path given how much work and time and energy and communication that our front office, our coaching staff, me, we all went through this with him. And I understand, there was some disappointment in his tenure as an Astro because of the turbulent way things went about. We gave him every opportunity, we communicated with him effectively, we have an incredible culture where every single player will tell you it’s one of the best cultures they’ve had, one of the best communication envrionments they’ve had. They all know their roles. They all know their situations. To have one person out of all the guys in our clubhouse come out and claim otherwise is flat wrong.

While Giles certainly could be embellishing or deliberately misconstruing his time there, Hinch’s rebuttal doesn’t actually disqualify anything Giles said. Giles certainly could have had a negative experience in Houston even if everyone else was enjoying the “incredible culture” and “one of the best communication environments.”

Given how the Astros — including Hinch — responded to criticism about their acquiring an accused domestic abuser, they’re not in the best position to boast about an “incredible culture” anyway.

At any rate, this is a he-said, he-said situation. If anything more comes of it, it will be Giles further torching a bridge.