Moyer primed for comeback at 49

Forget comeback player of the year.

Jamie Moyer might become the comeback player of the half-century.

Moyer, who turns 49 later this month, is a free agent and has thrown for scouts twice recently, including Thursday in San Diego.

So far, the left-hander is getting rave reviews.

“Same as he’s been for the past 15 years — as incredible as that may sound,” one veteran scout said. “He has a chance to pitch in the big leagues as a fifth starter and win 10 or 12 games. He’s throwing 81 to 83 miles an hour, but he still knows how to make you look like an idiot. He doesn’t need the money. But I think he has that fire burning in his belly.”

Another scout observed: “It was amazing. He looked as loose, limber and free as he ever has.”

Moyer would be the oldest pitcher in the major leagues in nearly four decades; Hall of Famer Hoyt Wilhelm was 49 when he appeared in 16 games for the Dodgers in 1972.

A comeback isn’t all that farfetched, when you consider Moyer made 19 starts for the Phillies in 2010 (9-9, 4.84 ERA) before undergoing Tommy John surgery. It’s an excellent sign that he’s throwing off a mound less than one calendar year following the operation.

Sources say the Mariners, Rangers, Royals, Rockies, Orioles, and Pirates are among the teams that have sent scouts to see Moyer. Despite Moyer’s success in Philadelphia, he’s probably best suited to pitch in pitcher-friendly ballpark on the West Coast — such as those in Seattle, San Diego, or Anaheim.

Moyer is living in San Diego now and may have a preference for the Padres or Angels. But he also spent the largest share of his career with the Mariners, and they are in the market for at least one starter this winter. The Moyer Foundation, which helps children in distress, was founded in Seattle and remains headquartered there.

Moyer is 267-204 with a 4.24 ERA in more than 4,000 big-league innings. He ranks in between Hall of Famers Bob Feller (266) and Jim Palmer (268) on the all-time wins list.