Phils' Moyer faces a career-threatening injury

Jamie Moyer lasted one inning Tuesday night. The injury to his pitching elbow may require surgery and could end his career.
Jamie Moyer lasted one inning Tuesday night. The injury to his pitching elbow may require surgery and could end his career.
Posted: July 23, 2010

ST. LOUIS - For 25 years, Jamie Moyer has defied all odds. He has soft-tossed his way into record books, pitching well beyond any expectations ever set.

At age 47, his incredible major-league career could be in serious jeopardy.

Moyer will go on the disabled list with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament and strained flexor pronator tendon in his left elbow, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. He said Moyer would miss a significant amount of time, and surgery has not been ruled out.

Amaro disclosed that Moyer had been pitching with pain in his elbow recently. On Tuesday, Moyer was asked if the injury was suffered before his start, and he declined to answer. He lasted only one inning Tuesday before removing himself from the game.

"He had some discomfort in his elbow earlier," Amaro said. "It got to the point where it became a real issue for him."

The lefthander had an MRI exam Thursday that revealed the injuries. He will have more testing done to determine the severity of the injuries. Surgery could be needed to repair the ligaments and tendons.

If the sprain in Moyer's ulnar collateral ligament is severe enough, he would require Tommy John surgery. At age 47, it's not a stretch to consider Moyer declining the surgery and calling it quits. He will be a free agent after the season.

But Moyer had two surgeries this past off-season and returned to full health before opening day to earn a spot in the Phillies' rotation. The difference then was the injuries weren't to his pitching elbow.

"He's going to be out quite some time," Amaro said.

Moyer is the active career leader in wins with 267, which ranks 36th all-time. He is one behind Hall of Famer Jim Palmer.

Cole Hamels said losing Moyer would be tough.

"He's a mentor to all of us," Hamels said. "Obviously we'll be fortunate enough to have him around even though he's not pitching. But there's always something you can learn from him when he's pitching."

In the off-season, Amaro said he didn't expect Moyer to be ready for opening day following his four stays in the hospital over the winter. But Moyer was healthy for the beginning of spring training and won a roster spot.

In 19 starts this season, Moyer is 9-9 with a 4.84 ERA. He became the oldest pitcher ever to throw a shutout on May 7, a two-hitter against the Braves.

"No disrespect to Jamie," Amaro said, "but he's been a pleasant surprise after not being in our rotation last year at the end. Coming off the two surgeries, he's been, in a lot of ways, a godsend for us. He's pitched quite well under the circumstances."


A Look at Moyer's Career

Phillies pitcher Jamie Moyer was placed on the disabled list Thursday after suffering both ligament and tendon injuries in his left elbow. It is a career-threatening injury. The Souderton High and St. Joseph's University graduate was drafted by the Cubs in the sixth round in 1984. He made his major-league debut on June 16, 1986, with the Cubs. Moyer is 36th all-time in career wins with 267. He is the all-time leader in home runs allowed with 511. He has started 628 games, pitched 4,020 1/3 innings, and has 10 shutouts and 33 complete games. He has allowed 4,156 hits, 2,036 runs, and 1,137 walks. He has 2,405 strikeouts, 12 balks and 57 wild pitches, and hit 144 batters.

Year   Team   W-L   ERA   

1986-88   Cubs   28-34   4.42   

1989-90   Texas   6-15   4.74   

1991   St. Louis   0-5   5.74   

1993-95   Baltimore   25-22   4.41   

1996   Boston   7-1   4.50   

1997-2006   Seattle   145-87   3.97   

2006-2010   Phillies   56-40   4.55   

   AL   183-125   4.10   

   NL   84-79   4.53   

   Career   267-204   4.24   

   Postseason   3-3   4.14   

   This season   9-9   4.84   

All-time career wins

1. Cy Young   511      22. Randy Johnson   303   

2. Walter Johnson   417      23. Lefty Grove   300   

6. Warren Spahn   363      26. Tommy John   288   

8. Greg Maddux   355      27. Bert Blyleven   287   

9. Roger Clemens   354      28. Robin Roberts   286   

11. Steve Carlton   329      29. Fergie Jenkins   284   

14. Nolan Ryan   324      31. Jim Kaat   283   

Don Sutton   324      33. Mike Mussina   270   

16. Phil Niekro   318      35. Jim Palmer   268   

17. Gaylord Perry   314      36. Jamie Moyer   267   

18. Tom Seaver   311      37. Bob Feller   266   

21. Tom Glavine   305         


Contact staff writer Matt Gelb

at 215-854-2928 or mgelb@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/magelb.

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