Despite illness and age, Phillies’ Moyer says he’s ready to pitch

  • Mon Feb 15th, 2010 11:23pm
  • Sports

By Andy Martino The Philadelphia Inquirer

PHILADELPHIA — The news about Jamie Moyer this offseason was rarely positive. After having surgery Oct. 2 to repair muscle tears in his groin and abdomen, the Phillies’ pitcher was twice hospitalized with a blood infection. Then, in January, he returned to Philadelphia for minor knee surgery.

But despite the health scares, despite losing his job in the starting rotation in August, and despite being 47 years old, Moyer is not ready to consider retiring.

Before a Saturday night appearance at St. Joseph’s University, his former school, the lefthander said he fully expected to compete for a starting job in 2010 — and did not rule out pitching beyond this year. Moyer’s two-year contract with the Phillies will expire at the end of the season, which begins with spring training this week.

Asked if this would be his final season, Moyer said: “You know, I’m going to leave that as an open-ended question, because I don’t know how to answer that. It could be. It potentially could be. But so could have last year. So could have two years ago. So could have five years ago.”

Whatever happens, Moyer is glad to be healthy after an off-season that he called “trying.” Five days after the Oct. 2 surgery, Moyer was stricken with a blood infection and spent three nights at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. Then, at home in Florida the next month, he felt ill again, losing his appetite and feeling queasy for days at a time.

After having a CT scan at a Florida hospital the day before, Moyer flew north Nov. 24 and was told by team medical staff that he had an abscess in his left groin. While his in-laws looked after Moyer’s eight children in Florida, the pitcher and his wife spent Thanksgiving in the hospital.

“Things didn’t really get better, so they went back in and cleaned it out thoroughly, and it ended up being that I had a staph infection,” Moyer said.

He then began a six-week course of antibiotics, which pushed a scheduled minor knee procedure to January. If the team deems Moyer physically capable, he will compete with Kyle Kendrick for the fifth spot in the rotation.

“That’s a choice for the club to make,” he said. “I would prefer to start, because I’ve done it my whole career. That’s a no-brainer. But as far as what happens, I don’t think they’re going to ask me.”