Old Man Spring: Moyer nabs 5 spot in rotation

By STEVE WILDMAN
Staff Writer — swildman@highhopesblog.com
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Photo: Keith Garry

Jamie Moyer has done it again.

And, no, he didn’t give up six runs over 3.1 innings during a start in mid-June.

It was announced today that Jamie Moyer will be the Phillies 5th starter in the rotation to begin the 2010 season. Moyer, who has had a solid spring, has convinced the Phillies management that he’s healthy enough to regain his status in the rotation after being demoted to the bullpen during the second half of last season and subsequent offseason surgery.  Moyer has posted a 0.77 ERA this spring over 11 2/3 innings, and his lasted outing only proved to strengthen his case, in which he shut down the Yankees.

Moyer has set out this spring with a chip on his shoulder after the demotion last year, and hearing the criticism from the fans and media that he’s finally lost it as a starter.  Moyer, 47, enters the season as the oldest player in Major League Baseball.

The biggest reason why this story even deserves a headline is the strong challenge offered by Kyle Kendrick this spring.  Kendrick has looked great throughout the preseason, posting a 1.66 ERA over 21 2/3 innings.  If nothing else, his success will hopefully translate into a strong bullpen presence, and a solid spot-starter when needed.  Kendrick is also a better fit for the bullpen, with being able to pitch on less days rest than Moyer.

With the question of if Moyer will begin the season as a starter answered, the question now becomes if it will last.  There’s no doubt the old lefty knows how to win.  You kind of have to if your fastball tops out at 78 mph.  However, how long will Charlie wait this year to pull the plug and send him to the pen if he struggles?

Also, immediately following the Cliff Lee trade, Ruben Amaro Jr.’s explanation was that his and management’s job is to not only focus on winning this year, but also keeping the club viable for years to come.  If that’s the case, doesn’t it seem contradictory to have a 47 year old coming back from multiple surgeries start every 5th day?

Fans have to give it to Jamie, though.  Pitchers don’t last as long as he had in this league unless they are winners.

Just don’t go and sleep on Kyle Kendrick.  You know, the guy who in 2007 carried the Phillies and their beaten-down staff to their first playoffs since 1993 while Cole Hamels was on the DL?  You may see him back in a starting role sooner than later.

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