In Phils camp as instructor, Doc enjoying retirement
Halladay offering advice to young pitchers, may eventually take full-time gig
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Roy Halladay said there is no chance he will sneak away to throw secret bullpen sessions this spring.
Halladay is happy in retirement.
It helps that Halladay remains part of the game, which could become a full-time venture in the future. He is in Phillies camp as a guest instructor, where he is imparting his philosophies about pitching to some of the organization's younger and less established pitchers. The hope is some of them listen, pick up a thing or two and use some of Halladay's suggestions and ideas to help a pitching staff that ranked as one of the worst in baseball last season.
"I love being here," Halladay said Wednesday afternoon at Bright House Field. "I definitely want to keep doing it. I think maybe this first year, I want to make sure that I get to spend the time that I want with my boys and my wife, and that's my priority. Once I see how things work, yeah, I'd love to continue to do it and, if I have more time, do more. I'll always continue doing it. It's just a matter of starting to figure out how much I can do. Once the kids are gone, maybe it's something to do full time."
Halladay spent more than 30 minutes Tuesday with top Phillies prospect Jesse Biddle, discussing the mental aspects of pitching and handing him a copy of "The Mental ABC's of Pitching" by Harvey Dorfman, which Halladay credits for helping saving his big league career.
Halladay, who once went from the big leagues to Class A before establishing himself as one of the best pitchers of his generation, has given the book to pitchers in previous springs, too.
"Obviously, it works," Biddle said. "Just to hear what he has to say about the little things in the game I'm trying to learn and figure out, you can't really ask for a better guy. His story is something they tell us when we start playing here. We're taught about it. No matter how tough it gets, you can always bounce back. As long as they give you the ball, you can bounce back. But to hear him discuss it personally with me is pretty cool."
Halladay has spoken to more than just Biddle. He is introducing himself and making himself available to everybody.
"The stages they're at now, it's just a mental part and really it's just confidence," Halladay said of pitchers like Phillippe Aumont, Jake Diekman and Jonathan Pettibone. "They are very good at what they do, but there's just that extra confidence that you see in everyday Major League players opposed to maybe a guy at Triple-A or Double-A. I've been trying to help them speed that up by starting to think about the mental parts and preparing themselves and getting themselves ready to start. Really brainwashing themselves into thinking that's something they can do consistently. That's really what it takes. Some guys need to have that success first, but in the things I've seen, a lot of guys can start to believe that and they talk themselves into that over and over, and suddenly they become it. That's something I've talked to some of them about.
"It's kind of 'Fake it until you make it.' I had to do that with myself. That was something Harvey was very good at. He used to tell me to keep acting the part until I actually became it. That's something I really had to try to do. I really had to try to repeat these mental phrases, try and exude the confidence, all that stuff until it became part of me."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.