Phillies Pitcher Roy Halladay Panic: Dead Arm Or Dead Career?


The Roy Halladay panic just will not end.  After Halladay's seven-run, two and two-thirds inning start on Sunday some fans just cannot stop worrying.  It has not been helped by local media helping drive the panic bus with polls and chatter.  However, most of the worry has been local.  Nationally, it was just a pitcher doing his Spring Training regimen encountering a "dead arm".

"Roy's going through this dead-arm period, like Jordan Zimmermann of the Nationals just did", said former Reds and Nationals General Manager Jim Bowden on his SirusXM show "Inside Pitch" the other day.  Zimmermann had an outing not that different from Halladay.   In three innings against the Cardinals on March 8, Zimmermann gave up eight earned runs.  He bounced back with a fine start his next time out.

What is "dead arm?"  The Dickson Baseball Dictionary defines "dead arm" as:

The fatigued or overworked throwing arm of a pitcher.  The term sounds worse than what it means; the arm is not injured.  Colorado Rockies pitching coach Frank Funk referred to dead arm as "a case of asking your arm to do more than it has ever done before, and it goes through a stage where it gets fatigued but not sure.  it just feels week.  You try to throw the ball just as hard as you ever did.  It just doesn't go that hard."

So what did Halladay say about how he felt after his last start?  Fatigued.   How did Jordan Zimmermann feel after his blowup start? Fatigued.  Also, Chris Sale of the White Sox with his dead arm? "Fatigue".  Halladay is coming off an injury.  A Spring Training after an injury is indeed something he has not done before.

I personally watched Roy Halladay's dominant four-inning, zero run start on March 6th before his blowup against the Tigers on Tuesday.    No one was worried that day.  Give Halladay the opportunity to continue his Spring Training.  Give him the chance to bounce back.  The "dead arm" period happens to many, and this is all that this may be.   One Spring Training start does not mean his career is over.