Jamie Moyer helps his comeback cause with two strong innings

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Jamie Moyer helped himself nicely in his attempt to make the Colorado Rockies rotation out of spring training on Wednesday, breezing through two scoreless innings.

Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post reports that his fastball topped out at 82 mph and that he kept the Giants hitters off-balance, allowing just one hit and throwing only 22 pitches. All in all, for those who have watched the veteran left-hander over the years, it was a pretty typical Moyer outing.

“I was happy with how things went, I threw for strikes and got some groundballs,” Moyer said. “I will continue to push … I believe I have a long way to go yet. I want to prove something to this team, to make this team. I don’t think I can dwell too much on this one outing.”

That’s a good sign for the 49-year-old, who is attempting to return to the majors after missing the entire 2011 season due to Tommy John surgery. Jhoulys Chacin, Jeremy Guthrie and Drew Pomeranz likely have rotation spots locked up, and Juan Nicasio, who is recovering from a broken neck, has looked great so far this spring. That leaves Moyer to compete with Guillermo Moscoso, Alex White, Tyler Chatwood and possibly Josh Outman for the final rotation spot. And don’t forget, Jorge De La Rosa is expected back from injury perhaps as early as July.

The competition is fierce, but don’t bet against Moyer. I spoke with him in Scottsdale this spring and he is as determined as ever, saying “I don’t think I’d be standing here if I didn’t think I could play.”

It’s a pretty remarkable story, and you can read all about it here, but here are a couple tidbits:

    • Moyer is a Pennsylvania native and he considers the World Series title with the Phillies in 2008 among his favorite career moments. When the Phillies won the title in 1980, he cut high school to attend the parade, then in 2008, he was in the parade. Pretty cool.
    • The Moyers have eight children. Dillon, a sophomore at UC-Irvine, and Hutton, a high school senior, are infielders who will both be eligible for the 2012 draft, so there could potentially be three Moyers in pro ball.
    • His three favorite teammates? Nolan Ryan, Cal Ripken Jr., and Andre Dawson. All Hall of Famers who he “put on a pedestal,” for the examples they set on and off the field.

There’s much more, so check it out.

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Umpire ejects Adrian Beltre for moving on-deck circle

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As far as ejections go, this is one of the stranger ones you’ll hear about. Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre was ejected in the bottom of the eighth inning of a game his team trailed at the time 18-6. Beltre was a few feet away from the circle towards home plate and was asked by Marlins pitcher Drew Steckenrider to get into the circle. So rather than step a few feet back to his right, Beltre picked up the circle and dragged it to where he was. And that got him ejected by second base umpire Gerry Davis. Manager Jeff Banister was also ejected after having a word with Davis.

Here’s a video from Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports:

Beltre, by the way, went 3-for-3 with a walk, a pair of doubles, and a solo home run. He’s now four hits away from 3,000 for his career.

Video: Phillies prospect J.P. Crawford hits an inside-the-park grand slam

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Phillies shortstop prospect J.P. Crawford’s stock has fallen sharply this season. He had an abysmal first three months, batting .203/.321/.276 in 291 plate appearances. Baseball America rated him the 12th overall prospect in baseball going into the season and rated him No. 92 in their midseason top 100. It was bad.

Since the calendar turned to July, however, Crawford has been more like his normal self. In 92 at-bats this month entering Wednesday night’s action, he was hitting .300/.391/.650 with six home runs, 13 RBI, 18 runs scored, and a terrific 15/12 K/BB ratio.

Crawford padded his stats more on Wednesday night as he circled the bases for an inside-the-park grand slam. Via the IronPigs Twitter:

Crawford was actually dead-to-rights at home, but he fooled the catcher with a great late slide.

Crawford finished 1-for-3 with a walk along with the slam on the night as the IronPigs beat the Gwinnett Braves 8-2.