Jamie Moyer is hoping to make comeback in 2012 — at age 49
Former Mariners pitcher Jamie Moyer had Tommy John surgery on Dec. 1 and will miss the 2011 baseball season. He hopes to return to the mound in 2012, if someone will give him a chance at the age of 49.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Some people might view a Tommy John elbow reconstruction operation, at age 48, as some sort of sign from the Baseball Gods that it's time to hang up the changeup for good.
But not Jamie Moyer, the ageless wonder, who is already envisioning a comeback in 2012, when he'll be one year shy of a half-century.
"A lot of people have seen signs over the course of my career that I should quit or retire," Moyer said in a recent interview. "In all honesty, I just don't feel like I'm ready to give it up. I feel I'm entitled to make my own decision.
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, which people don't seem to be shy about expressing. I respect and appreciate when it comes from the right people. The baseball people I've talked to before and since the surgery, all have been very positive and very supportive."
Moyer, who has a 267-204 record in 24 major-league seasons (including eight full and parts of two others with the Mariners), is realistic about the challenges ahead of him. The Tommy John surgery, which was performed by Dr. David Alchek in New York on Dec. 1, typically has a recovery time of 12 to 18 months.
"It may be difficult to find a job at the age of 49," Moyer said. "Then again, it may not be. I know where I stand: I'll probably get a spring-training invitation (rather than a guaranteed roster spot), and rightly so. I don't have a problem with that. Throughout my career, I've always had to earn the situation I've been in. I don't expect anyone to give me anything. It's never been that way, so why now?"
Moyer said the doctor told him the operation was "very successful," and he hopes to start rehabilitation in early January, once his sling is removed.
It is not uncommon for pitchers to have tremendous success following Tommy John surgery, but no one has ever attempted a comeback at Moyer's age. The left-hander was 9-9 with a 4.84 earned-run average in 19 starts for the Phillies last year before elbow issues ended his season in July.
"I'll potentially play some winter ball next winter to see where I stand and how I feel," said Moyer, who pitched briefly in the Dominican Republic in November before hurting his elbow again.
In addition to rehabbing, Moyer will spend his year away from baseball following the school and athletic endeavors of his eight children.
Along with wife Karen, he also will be heavily involved with the Moyer Foundation, their charitable venture. The Moyer Foundation is headquartered in Seattle, though plans are under way to open an East Coast office. The foundation has raised more than $20 million to support more than 225 programs since its inception in 2000.
"It will be nice spending family time," Moyer said. "Maybe I'll get to the point I like that more than I like to play. We'll see."
Larry Stone: 206-464-3146 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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