MIAMI -- Roy Halladay entered the visitors' clubhouse Friday afternoon at Marlins Park drenched in sweat.
He just threw 33 pitches in his first bullpen session since he landed on the disabled list in May with a strained latissimus dorsi in his back. Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee said Halladay is a little bit ahead of schedule -- more days than weeks, he stressed -- and is "progressing nicely."
"Is it quicker than the doctor probably thought?" Dubee said. "It might be a few days, but not major. But his work ethic dictates that, too."
The Phillies originally offered a six-to-eight-week timetable for Halladay's return to the mound.
Could Halladay be back closer to six weeks than eight? It certainly seems possible.
"We'll see when that day arrives," Dubee said.
Dubee declined to say when Halladay might throw his second bullpen session or how close he might be to a rehab start.
"We'll see how he feels tomorrow," Dubee said. "What he's going to do after this is undetermined."
Phillies could trade Thome to AL team soon
MIAMI -- Could Jim Thome be on his way out of Philadelphia?
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said 10 days ago he had been taking calls about Thome's availability following a stellar performance during a nine-game Interleague road trip, when Thome had four home runs and 14 RBIs as the team's designated hitter. Amaro said then it "is a little bit of a disservice to have him sit there as a pinch-hitter when he can't do much more than that. But we'll see what happens."
It was a pretty strong hint the Phillies are more than willing to trade Thome. ESPN.com reported this week the Phils are actively shopping him.
Thome sounded torn Friday when asked about his future in Philadelphia.
"The bottom line is I'm a Phillie," the veteran slugger said at Marlins Park. "I'm a Phillie, I'm in Philly, and I want to be here. ... Unfortunately I thought I was going to play a little bit more. I understand that. But my back hasn't let that happen. That's for me, I kind of feel bad about that, to be honest."
Thome started four games at first base in April before landing on the disabled list with an injured back. He said he can't give first base another shot. It's just too risky. And because it is too risky, it will be tough for him to stay productive offensively pinch-hitting a few times per week.
Thome said he talks to Amaro and Phillies manager Charlie Manuel every day, so it stands to reason they have talked about trade possibilities. Asked what would happen if the Phillies came to him with a trade proposal, Thome said, "If they did that, I think I would have to sit down and listen. But it's hard for me to answer that. It's hard for me to answer that out of respect of the fans, the organization -- they've treated me so well here. I would never want to disrespect them.
"But there is a side of me that does have a lot of passion to play. I like to play. Unfortunately, physically, it bothers me to say it, but physically it is what it is -- it's hard for me to play first base."
And that could create a numbers problem when Ryan Howard and Laynce Nix return from the DL. In that regard, if the Phillies could get something of use in return for Thome -- the Twins got just $20,000 for him from the Indians last season -- it might make sense to trade him.
"Thome would definitely get the most playing as a DH in the American League," Manuel said. "I think everybody in baseball knows that. But we're not in a hurry to get rid of Thome."
Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard went 1-for-2 with a single and a strikeout in a rehab game Friday with Class A Lakewood. He played five innings at first base, but did not make any plays in the field.
So what is going on with Phillies right-hander Kyle Kendrick? He has a 7.67 ERA in his past five starts. He allowed five runs within the first six batters he faced in Thursday's 5-4 loss to Pittsburgh at Citizens Bank Park before retiring 19 of the final 23 batters he faced.
Kendrick clearly settled after Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee met him on the mound in the first.
"I didn't bark any orders," Dubee said. "I gave him some instructions -- the instructions I gave him before the game -- but they didn't sink in. ... I think he starts very tentative, and that's not a good thing. He has to keep the ball down. He has to throw strike one like every other pitcher."
Right-hander Brian Sanches knows he has a chance to stick in the Phillies' bullpen if he pitches with any consistency. The Phils selected his contract to replace left-hander Joe Savery on Wednesday.
"Absolutely, that's what this game is all about, especially for a middle reliever," Sanches said. "You're always two outings away from being sent down or sent out, so it's consistency with the relievers. For me, the game plan is to be aggressive, attack hitters. It would allow me to have success in the past with the Marlins. My mindframe is to be aggressive, attack the hitters, get them out that way."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.