Big League Stew

Jamie Moyer’s comeback takes him to Colorado

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew

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Jamie Moyer last pitched for the Philadelphia Phillies on July 20, 2010. (AP)

Don't stick a fork in Jamie Moyer, he's not done yet.

The 49-year-old left-hander, who missed the entire 2011 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, insisted he would rehab with an eye towards a return for a 25th season in 2012. And guess what? He's one step closer to making his comeback a reality after joining the Colorado Rockies on a minor-league contract pending the completion of a physical.

Surprised?

I'd hope you'd know better than that by now.

As Big League Stew's own Ian Casselberry wrote one day before Moyer became the oldest Tommy John patient on record:

A rational human being almost certainly would've decided it's time to stop throwing a baseball after straining a ligament and tendon in his left elbow last July.

Without a doubt, any mortal man would surely have chosen to move on to another phase of his life after going on to blow out that same elbow while pitching winter ball in the Dominican Republic.

But Jamie Moyer is no mortal man, no normal pitcher. His left elbow can be rebuilt.

And so the surgery took place on Dec. 1, 2010, and apparently the elbow is feeling as close to 100 percent as an elbow can possibly be feeling after nearly 40 years of wear and tear ranging from little league all the way to the big leagues.

But here's where the story becomes a little more interesting. On paper, a pitcher attempting to make a comeback in Colorado looks like a disastrous idea. Especially the pitcher who happens to be the all-time leader in home runs allowed (511). However, if you examine the situation a little closer, you'll find it's actually the perfect landing spot for a guy simply looking for an opportunity.

The Rockies will give Moyer opportunity. They are desperately searching for pitching depth, and could use a veteran presence in the clubhouse to help advise what figures to be an inexperienced and inconsistent rotation. And I'm obviously not just talking about advice on mechanics and in-game adjustments. No, Dan O'Dowd wants a mentally tougher roster and better leadership in 2012, and there's no better example of both than Jamie Moyer.

The door is going to be open for Moyer to make their opening day roster, and to expand on his 267 career victories. In fact, several doors are going to be open — as many as four in the rotation and maybe a couple in the bullpen. Whether or not Moyer is physically capable of walking through any of them will be determined in the next couple of months, but the chance will absolutely be there.

And even in the more likely event he doesn't make the team, whatever knowledge he can pass along to Colorado's young pitchers — several of whom were born after Moyer debuted for the Chicago Cubs on June 16, 1986 — will hold value.

It's a really interesting fit for both sides, and just imagine even one turn through the Rockies rotation consisting of both Jamie Moyer and Juan Nicasio, who continues his remarkable recovery from a broken neck suffered last August. That may be too much inspiration for one sports market to handle. Yes, even for a market that experienced the athletic oddity known as Tim Tebow.

Bottom line: Jamie Moyer pitching for the Rockies will not lead them to their first National League West championship. But that doesn't mean he can't help them, or that it wouldn't be a fun story for as long as it lasted.

Follow Mark on Twitter — @Townie813 — and engage the Stew on Facebook

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