Halladay apologetic to fans following shoulder injury
Right-hander thankful for support before undergoing surgery
PHOENIX -- By no means did Roy Halladay have to do what he did Friday afternoon. After sitting with his thoughts for a couple days after finding out he'd need to undergo surgery on his right shoulder, the 35-year-old felt he needed to send a direct message to those he felt had been somewhat ignored.
Unprompted and heartfelt, Halladay gathered reporters before the Phillies game against the D-backs on Friday and spoke for close to 10 minutes, apologizing to the fans of Philadelphia for his injury and his performance over the last two seasons.
"I just felt like I should address the fans," Halladay started. "I just want to thank them for their support. My heart goes out to all the people that spend all their money to go to the games and don't see what they want to see. I know I'm not the whole team and it's a fun team to watch, but I feel bad that I'm missing the time that I am."
Placed on the disabled list on Monday, Halladay will undergo surgery on May 15 in Los Angeles to remove a bone spur and clean up fraying in the labrum and rotator cuff. The timetable for his return will be clearer after the procedure, but he will miss multiple months.
With his career now somewhat up in the air, Halladay wanted to make sure the fans knew how much they mean to him.
"It's hard to explain how much you appreciate them because there are places where you don't have fans like that," he said. "I think it's important to recognize them. I understand some people are upset -- that's part of it. I'm not trying to sway their opinion. If they don't like me, they don't like me. We appreciate what they do no matter what. Sometimes that gets overlooked in sports. They are a big part of a team's success."
After finishing with a 4.49 ERA in 2012, Halladay was 2-4 with an 8.65 ERA in seven starts this season. He surrendered 12 earned runs in 7 1/3 innings over his first two outings before he appeared to right the ship in his next three (four earned runs in 21 innings). He said he started to feel pain in his shoulder following his April 24 start against the Pirates. He didn't tell anyone about the pain because he said he had pitched successfully with worse discomfort in the past. However, he allowed 17 earned runs in just six innings over his last two starts, and that is when he told the Phillies he could no longer pitch.
He admitted on Thursday that part of the reason he continued throwing was the fear of letting his fans down.
"If I'm playing for a last-place team and there's things going on, you maybe speak up. But we have a chance to go win a World Series and we have sellouts and fans have expectations," he said. "You want to do everything you can to try to make it work. Really, that was a lot of the reason that I tried to keep going. I felt bad that I wasn't doing what I was supposed to be doing.
"I just want to reach out to the fans, thank them for the support and apologize to the fans that I won't be out there for three months," he said. "I want the fans to know I'm thinking about them. I don't take them for granted and I don't take playing for Philadelphia for granted."
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.