PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies hope to have Roy Halladay back in their rotation before the end of the 2013 season.
But a day after Halladay had arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder, team doctor Michael Ciccotti expressed cautious optimism regarding the veteran pitcher's return. Although he said it was "very possible" that Halladay could pitch again this season, Ciccotti acknowledged on Thursday that the 36-year-old right-hander has a long summer of recovery and rehab ahead.
The Phillies are hopeful he can begin a throwing program in six to eight weeks.
"And that will be dependent on how he feels," Ciccotti said. "And then his progression from that point will obviously be how he is with his throwing. If and when he feels that he is throwing with the velocity and the control that he's comfortable with and effective, then we'd consider having him be back in a game situation.
"If all goes well as we and all Phillies fans hope, then it is possible that he may be able to pitch this season. But it will be depending upon how he feels and how confident and comfortable it is."
Halladay decided to pursue surgery after his 2013 season went awry, culminating with an ugly 14-2 loss to the Miami Marlins on May 5 when he allowed nine earned runs in 2 1/3 innings.
A two-time Cy Young Award winner, Halladay was 2-4 with an 8.65 ERA in seven starts this season. Dating to the beginning of last season, when Halladay also experienced shoulder issues, he is 13-12 with a 5.24 ERA in his last 32 starts.
In his first two seasons with the Phillies, Halladay went 40-16 with a 2.40 ERA. He had a 3.23 career ERA prior to the start of the 2012 season.
Halladay hopes to reboot that career later this summer, although he'll have to clear more than a couple of hurdles to do so.
"There are actually a variety of obstacles," Ciccotti said. "Number one, will he get his full range of motion back? Because for a professional pitcher to throw a ball with the velocities that make them successful, they need to have a certain arc of motion. So certainly him getting his full range of motion is important.
"Also being able to throw the ball at that velocity is dependent upon his strength. And he's had some weakness recently ... so getting his strength back. And then all that happens from that point on, when he starts a tossing program, his ability to locate the ball confidently."
Even if Halladay faces an arduous task ahead, Ciccotti and Neal ElAttrache, the Los Angeles Dodgers' team doctor who performed the surgery, were hopeful about the pitcher's return because the arthroscopic procedure revealed exactly what they had anticipated after last week's tests.
Halladay did not need to have any tearing or detachments in his labrum or rotator cuff.
"So it really was the best-case scenario in our minds," Ciccotti said. "Roy is feeling very good."