Jamie Moyer missed the final two months of the season with an elbow injury that he aggravated while pitching winter ball in the Dominican Republic earlier this month, which combined with his status as a free agent led many to assume that he’d be calling it a career at age 48.
However, yesterday Moyer announced plans to undergo elbow surgery with an eye toward returning for a 25th season in 2012, writing “we are cautiously optimistic superman will make a comeback!” on the Facebook page for his family’s charity.
Moyer was still capable of getting big-league hitters out before the injury, going 9-9 with a 4.84 ERA in 19 starts for the Phillies, but he’ll be 49 years old by the time spring training rolls around in 2012 and no pitcher in the past 40 seasons has appeared in a game at that age.
In fact, Satchell Paige, Hoyt Wilhelm, and Jack Quinn are the only pitchers in baseball history to take the mound at 49 or older and they combined to throw a total of just 44 innings. Toss in the normal question marks associated with going under the knife and the odds are stacked pretty heavily against Moyer pitching again. Of course, the odds were also stacked pretty heavily against someone with just 34 career wins through age 30 still being around at age 47, let alone with 267 victories.
Tigers closer Francisco Rodriguez continued to struggle on Thursday, allowing a run in a 2-1 loss to the Mariners. It’s the sixth time in nine appearances that the right-handed veteran has allowed a run, bumping his ERA up to 6.23. He’s blown two saves and has two losses on the year.
Despite that, it doesn’t sound like Rodriguez’s job as the Tigers’ closer is in any jeopardy, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports. When asked how much of a leash Rodriguez has, manager Brad Ausmus said, “I’ll let you know.” Ausmus continued, “I think people have short memories. This guy did a pretty good job for us last year. Early on, people were worried because the velocity was down. Well, the velocity is back.”
“But at some point,” Ausmus said, “he does have to pitch the way he pitched last year, because he did an outstanding job for us last year and in a city that has been looking for a closer that was consistent for a long time, he was that.”
Rodriguez, 35, doesn’t have the stuff he once did. And the Tigers do appear to have someone who would be a better option in high-leverage situations. Lefty Justin Wilson has thrown 9 2/3 scoreless, hitless innings so far this season with 15 strikeouts and three walks. But for now, it sounds like Rodriguez will be free to work through his issues.
Don’t look now, but the Nationals have the best record in baseball at 16-6. They’re coming off a 10-game road trip in which they went 9-1, including sweeps of the Braves and Mets and a 3-1 series against the Rockies at Coors Field. During that series with the Rockies, the Nationals scored 46 runs, which is nearly as many as the Royals (54) have scored all season long. The Nats scored double-digits in all three wins.
The first game at Coors, an 8-4 loss, saw a three-hit game from Anthony Rendon and a homer from Ryan Zimmerman.
The second game featured Trea Turner hitting for the cycle and driving in seven runs. Daniel Murphy had three hits and five RBI.
The third game saw Turner finish a triple short of the cycle. Bryce Harper had four hits. Zimmerman had three hits including a homer. Murphy homered, too.
The fourth game featured homers from Adam Eaton, Harper, and Murphy. Seven members of the lineup had multiple hits and six had multiple RBI including pitcher Gio Gonzalez.
The series helped the Nationals bring their run differential to +34, the best in the National League. The Yankees are the only team with a better differential at +35.
Indeed, the Nationals are sad to be leaving Coors Field. They return home to open up a three-game set with the ailing Mets on Friday night.