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Moyer: I'm not done with baseball
Jamie Moyer was released three times in his baseball career before he was 30.
So what’s another setback at the age of 49?
The Colorado Rockies felt they had to make a move with Moyer in an effort to patch together a leaky rotation. Moyer, however, isn’t ready to retire. The Rockies didn’t want to simply release him.
So on Wednesday, the Rockies designated Moyer for assignment. That gives them 10 days to dispose of his contract. That gives them plenty of time to put him on waivers and let Moyer know if any other team out there might have an interest.
Asked if he is interested in trying to continue to pitch, Moyer said "I am."
For now, though, Moyer has a few days to kick back.
"I’m going to go home (Wednesday night) and go to a high school graduation on Saturday,’’ he said in reference to the coming event for Hunter, his second-oldest son. "His team (Cathedral Catholic High School in San Diego) is in the playoffs so after the graduation we will to go a baseball game.’’
Then Moyer will wait to see if the phone rings, hoping he can add to his big league resume, which shows 260 wins and 209 losses.
"It’s all part of unmet expectations as an individual and a team,’’ Moyer said. "When you don’t (have success), management has to take a step back and readdress the situation.’’
The Rockies are 19-29 with a 5.18 ERA, highest in the National League. The rotation has an NL-worst 5.20 ERA and has worked an NL-low 259 1/3 innings in 48 games.
"You like to have a bullpen where you can tell a guy or two to leave his tennis shoes on for the day, but that is not the case with our rotation,’’ manager Jim Tracy said. "It’s all hands on deck every game (for the bullpen).’’
Moyer has lived through these moments before. He rebounded from being cut loose by Texas, St. Louis and the Chicago Cubs before he turned 30. He has won 235 games since turning 30 and 105 since turning 40, including two this year. This season he became not only the oldest pitcher in history to win a big league game, but the oldest to make a season-opening rotation, and also the oldest player to drive in a run.
But it wasn’t enough for a Rockies team that has a pitching staff in disarray.
Moyer was supposed to be the fifth starter, where he could be protected by the bullpen.
But the projected rotation didn’t work out.
Jeremy Guthrie, the other veteran, was out three weeks with a bruised shoulder suffered when he fell off his bicycle, and has been spotty when healthy. Lefty Drew Pomeranz was dispatched to Triple-A Colorado Springs, and hoped-for No. 1 starter Jhoulys Chacin was 0-3 when he was initially sent to the minors but then recalled and placed on the disabled list because of a nerve problem in his right shoulder area.
That meant the Rockies needed more from Moyer, and he couldn’t deliver. He pitched more than five innings only once in his last six starts.
"Dan (O’Dowd, general manager) gave me the opportunity to come to spring training and Jim (Tracy) stuck his neck out for me and gave me the opportunity to (be in the rotation),’’ Moyer said. "All I asked for was an opportunity. Unfortunately I didn’t hold up my end of the bargain.’’
Moyer said his biggest problem was a lack of consistency. In addition to allowing 75 hits, he walked 18 in 53 2/3 innings. In his last start Sunday at Cincinnati, Moyer worked five innings giving up seven runs on seven hits, four of which were home runs, including one by Todd Frazier who let go of his bat in mid-swing and still hit the ball out of the park.
"I haven’t had (consistency) so far, but I feel I can find that,’’ Moyer said of his hope to keep pitching.
But the problem was bigger than that from the bench.
Once able to hit 83, 84 mph with his fastball, Moyer reached 80 once this season, in the second inning of his first start of the season. His fastball was consistently in the 77 to 78 mph range.
"There was not enough variance in his velocity,’’ Tracy said. "I saw more experienced major league hitters stand at the plate and look at the ball, not concerned with the pitch. It wasn’t like it used to be, where he had that ability to make 83 (mph) look 90.’’
Batters hit .349 against him the second and third time they faced him in a game.
"When you put a guy as professional as him in that position. … I wouldn’t come to grips with it,’’ Tracy said. "It wasn’t fair to him.’’
No problem, said Moyer.
He has been down this road before.
He has survived.
He has thrived.
He’s looking forward to the next challenge, hopefully pitching again, but if not. …
"Life presents lots of opportunities,’’ he said.