x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Blue Jays fans' farewell to the 'Doc' - or is it?

Fans of the Toronto Blue Jays came to say goodbye - but Roy "Doc" Halladay says he may not be going anywhere.

A sign in the bleachers thanks Roy Halladay for his contribution to the Blue Jays - but the pitcher said he may not be leaving.
A sign in the bleachers thanks Roy Halladay for his contribution to the Blue Jays - but the pitcher said he may not be leaving.

TORONTO// Fans of the Toronto Blue Jays came to say goodbye - but Roy "Doc" Halladay says he may not be going anywhere. "Thanks for the memories Doc" and "Doc's last house call", read signs hanging from the bleachers, with 24,161 fans giving the club's ace pitcher an emotional standing ovation when he took to the mound against the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday in what was widely expected to be his final home start before being traded.

With many believing he would not be back when the Blue Jays return from their six-game road trip after the Tampa Bay series, he exited to even louder applause nine innings later with the score tied 2-2. However, Halladay's 300th career game did not have a happy ending, with Evan Longoria looping a double to centre in the 10th inning to bring two runners home and earn the Rays a 4-2 win. "It was electric, it was a great atmosphere," Halladay (11-3) said. "You have those moments over your career where it's so much fun to be out there and obviously coming out on the wrong end of it was hard.

"But I like being here. I think I will still be here. At this point I feel like I'm going to be here. I'm trying not to think this might have been my last start here." With attendance near the bottom of the league and their position in the standings heading the same way, the Jays look prepared to enter a rebuilding phase and are seeking a package of top prospects in exchange for Halladay. There is no shortage of interest in the all-star right hander, who is widely considered to be the best pitcher in baseball.

Major League Baseball's non-waiver trade deadline is July 31, but JP Ricciardi, the Jays' general manager, has set his own deadline of July 28 - after which the 2003 Cy Young winner, who has spent his entire career with the Blue Jays, will come off the market. * Reuters