After more than 11 years, Roy Halladay returned to the league where his career turned around Thursday.
This time, instead of with question marks, he arrived at the Florida State League with an expected Hall-of-Fame resume.
The two-time Cy Young Award winner, getting in some rehab work before his likely return to the Phillies next week, allowed one unearned run on three hits without any walks, fanning four, in three innings as Class A Advanced Clearwater beat Fort Myers in 12 innings, 4-3.
Halladay began the 2001 season in the FSL with Dunedin, demoted after putting up a 10.64 ERA in 67 2/3 innings with Toronto during the 2000 season. After bouncing between the Minors and the bigs since 1998, things finally clicked and he returned to the Blue Jays by July that year and never looked back.
A workhorse throughout most of his 15-year Major League career, Halladay had never had to make a rehab start after establishing himself for good. But then he missed the last six weeks with a strained right latissimus dorsi muscle in his back he suffered during a May 27 start with Philadelphia.
So there he was with the Threshers on Thursday, getting back up to speed before he rejoins the Phillies.
"He was happy just to get back out on the mound again," Philadelphia director of player development Joe Jordan told MLB.com. "It had been a while since he was out there."
The 35-year-old was 4-5 with a 3.98 ERA in 72 1/3 innings with the Phillies this season before being sidelined. He also had 56 strikeouts and only 14 walks.
Jordan was simply happy that Halladay was back on the mound facing live competition. His velocity was reported to be between 87-90 miles per hour, touching as high as 91.
"He was a little rusty, but that surprised no one," said Jordan. "He got his work in, that's the important thing. He was executing. His two-seam fastball at times looked good and his breaking ball was in the zone quite a bit. There wasn't a whole lot of damage. Only one ball was hit hard off him."
The lone run off Halladay came in the first inning, when the Miracle's Daniel Santana reached on a missed catch by Clearwater first baseman Jim Murphy and later scored. Jordan said Halladay was limited to a pitch count of 60, but threw some more in the bullpen after his outing.
The eight-time All-Star is 192-97 in his career in the Majors with a 3.25 ERA. He was traded from Toronto to Philadelphia before the 2010 season.