Philadelphia Phillies ace Roy Halladay was put on the disabled list on Tuesday with a strained back muscle that is expected to sideline the two-time Cy Young winner for six to eight weeks, the Major League Baseball team said.
The Phillies (26-24), hit hard by injuries this season and tied for last in the National League East division four games behind the surprising first-place Washington Nationals, were relieved by the nature of the injury.
"We hate to have him down," Phillies assistant general manager Scott Proefrock told reporters at Citi Field before the Phillies' game against the New York Mets. "But it's nothing that requires anything other than rest."
The Phillies recalled catcher Erik Kratz to take Halladay's place on the 25-man roster. Vance Worley, who is on the disabled list with inflammation in his right elbow, could take Halladay's spot in the rotation on Monday.
Halladay is 4-5 with a 3.98 earned-run average (ERA) in 11 starts this season, but has gone just 1-3 with a 6.11 ERA in six starts in May while showing a drop in speed with his fastball.
Last season Halladay, who has won the Cy Young Award as best pitcher once each in the American League and National League, went 19-6 with a 2.35 ERA.
The Phillies are hopeful Halladay will return to form.
"Halladay's thrown a lot of pitches, man," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "He's 35, and he's thrown a lot of bullets over his career.
"Sooner or later, that's going to catch up with him. I think he's at the point where if he just steps back a little bit, you'll still see that dominant pitcher."
(Reporting By Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Frank Pingue)