MIAMI -- Rich Dubee waved for help at 7:25 p.m. Roy Halladay stood there, on the Marlins Park mound, crimson-faced and sweat-drenched from throwing 16 pitches Monday. Two minutes later, the pitching coach patted his pupil on the lower back as Halladay descended into the dugout and disappeared.
Halladay recorded one out in a 4-0 loss to Miami; it was the shortest start of his storied career. The Phillies announced at 7:40 p.m. that Halladay suffered from "right arm fatigue." There are no guarantees that his right arm fires another pitch for the Phillies or any other team.
The end was not supposed to resemble this. No, not for Roy Halladay. He earned more. He remade himself at age 23, toiled in Canadian obscurity during the best years of his career, and pushed his body to return less than four months after shoulder surgery. He deserved to author his own ending.
His 41,091st career pitch floated Monday at 76 mph for ball four. He could not eclipse 83 mph against the Marlins in 16 pitches, five of which were strikes. His observers winced as Halladay plodded. The temperature inside Marlins Park, with the roof closed, was 77 degrees.
The problem, of course, is deeper than fatigue. The 36-year-old righthander is gaunt. His body is overwhelmed. His shoulder is not strong.
Halladay has battled various illnesses since spring training, including a recent bout with what was described as "flulike symptoms." He overheated at Wrigley Field on July 18, 2011, and has looked like that same dehydrated pitcher on numerous nights since. Halladay scorned recent queries about his weight loss. General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. insisted that Halladay is healthy.
"We talked a lot about it," Amaro said. "He said he's ready to pitch, and he pitched. He wanted to pitch. We weren't going to hold him back, especially if the doctor said he couldn't do any damage. ... He's still getting paid, he should pitch."
Halladay is a free agent at season's end. He has one more scheduled start, Saturday in Atlanta. That is in doubt. Amaro said before the game that he wanted to retain Halladay but would not say whether he had made an offer.
"We haven't really talked much," Amaro said. "All I can say is that I'd love to have him back. There is risk to him, but I think he'll be better with the proper amount of rest this offseason. It's hard to crystal-ball it and figure out what kind of pitcher he'll be, but I think he's going to be better than what he is.
"This could be all he is, but I think he's going to be better."
Halladay walked the first batter Monday on four pitches. The fourth hit the backstop. Ed Lucas worked a full count and popped one to Chase Utley in foul territory. Christian Yelich walked on five pitches, and that is when Dubee sensed trouble.
Luis Garcia relieved Halladay and walked two straight hitters to force home a run. Five Phillies relievers -- Garcia, Joe Savery, Justin De Fratus and Ethan Martin -- combined for 62/3 scoreless innings until B.J. Rosenberg permitted three runs in the eighth. The bullpen will be taxed again Tuesday because reliever Zach Miner starts in Kyle Kendrick's place.
None of that felt important Monday, not when Halladay crumbled with everyone watching.
"It's amazing that he's back," Amaro said beforehand. "It tells you a lot about the person. He wanted to come out and compete."
But on this night, Halladay was helpless to control his fate. There was only sadness.
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