ATLANTA -- Thursday will be a big day for right-hander Roy Halladay, who will make his first rehab start with the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Phillies at noon at Carpenter Complex in Clearwater, Fla.
Halladay, who is recovering from surgery on his right shoulder, might make just two rehab starts before he rejoins the Phillies' rotation.
Halladay's comeback will be fascinating to watch over the final few weeks of the regular season as the Phillies evaluate his abilities and determine if they want to re-sign him. Halladay, 36, will be a free agent after finishing out a three-year, $60 million contract extension.
"I'm looking forward to it," manager Charlie Manuel said of Halladay's return to the rotation.
Though research has shown that pitchers of that age do not have successful comebacks following any type of shoulder surgery, major or minor, Halladay -- who went 2-4 with an 8.65 ERA in seven starts before landing on the disabled list -- hopes to disprove that.
"From what I've seen, he's got great range of motion in his arm," Manuel said. "He's more loose. He's more free. He can get on top and get extended, whereas before he had to kind of push the ball, and his arm angle was different. Now he gets through the ball. His arm is definitely quicker, faster.
"Halladay's work ethic definitely comes into play. Ain't nobody going to work any harder than Halladay. He's going to put everything in it that he possibly can."
In other recovery news, right-hander Jonathan Pettibone -- working his way back from a strained right shoulder -- also makes his first rehab assignment on Thursday, with Double-A Reading.
D. Young released by Phils after refusing assignment
ATLANTA -- The Phillies made a low-risk, high-reward move in January when they signed Delmon Young to a one-year, $750,000 contract that included awards and performance bonuses.
They made another move on Wednesday, releasing Young when he refused an assignment to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
Young was designated for assignment on Friday when the Phillies decided that right fielder Darin Ruf needed regular playing time as they begin to evaluate their needs heading toward the offseason. Ruf could be an everyday player in 2014, as he is one of the few right-handed bats in the lineup. He has been productive, hitting .274 with seven doubles, six home runs, 11 RBIs and an .888 OPS in 124 plate appearances.
Young hit .261 with 13 doubles, eight home runs, 31 RBIs and a .699 OPS in 291 plate appearances.
He earned about $1.75 million from the Phillies.
"He ended up having a couple of different streaks where he swung the bat OK, but he really didn't do the things we hoped he would do," said general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., who indicated that he would take another chance with Young. "I'll say it again. I think at some point he may end up being a much better hitter. I wouldn't be surprised if he comes back next year for somebody and has a much better year. You just don't know how guys are going to react to certain situations or certain opportunities."
Phils have talented young options in bullpen
ATLANTA -- The Phillies are looking for somebody to step up in the bullpen in the final weeks of the season.
Two have been impressive recently: right-hander Justin De Fratus and left-hander Jake Diekman.
De Fratus is 2-3 with a 3.98 ERA in 41 appearances, but he has a 0.82 ERA in 11 outings since July 19. Diekman is 0-3 with a 3.97 ERA in 28 appearances, but left-handers have hit just .184 against him, whereas right-handers have hit .375.
"I see guys that have talent," manager Charlie Manuel said. "Our guys need experience."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.