In first start, Moyer handles himself well
Competing for fifth spot, lefty fans six in five solid frames
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Jamie Moyer has never been in the room when teams make personnel decisions. He imagines it's quite a scene.
"The manager could be looking at one thing. The pitching coach could be looking at something else," Moyer said. "Other people that are involved in the decisions could be looking at other things. I have no idea. I've never been on that side of it, but it would be very interesting to see what people think or what they're looking at."
Moyer does not know how the Phillies will pick their fifth starter, which is a battle between him and right-hander Kyle Kendrick. He just knows he has two more starts to make his case.
"Basically it's what's best for us and how we line up as a team," pitching coach Rich Dubee said.
"I think they've both got two more starts," said manager Charlie Manuel, who was asked if Moyer still has the edge because of his experience. "I think it'll play out. I think we'll do what's best for our club and everything. I like how Kendrick has improved, but at the same time, Jamie's healthy and in the next couple starts, we'll see where he's at."
Moyer allowed five hits and one run and struck out six in five innings Sunday in a 5-4 loss to the Orioles at Bright House Field. It was Moyer's first Grapefruit League appearance after making three starts in "B" games. In a combined 14 innings, Moyer has allowed six earned runs for a 3.86 ERA. Kendrick has allowed two runs in 14 innings in four Grapefruit League appearances for a 1.29 ERA.
The Phils said earlier this spring that Kendrick must beat out Moyer for the job.
If that truly is the case, Moyer made a good case for himself Sunday.
"Jamie did Jamie," Manuel said. "Jamie got 'em out. He yo-yo'd it up there. A little in, a little out, up and down."
Moyer went 12-10 with a 4.94 ERA last season, but the Phillies pulled him from the rotation with a 5.47 ERA in August. He had a 3.26 ERA pitching out of the bullpen the rest of the season. Moyer might have been fresher pitching out the bullpen, which might explain his improvement, but Dubee said that is speculation.
Moyer also was upset when Philadelphia demoted him to the bullpen for Pedro Martinez, but he pitched well. He probably would not be happy being in the bullpen again, although he has said he will do whatever he is asked.
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Kendrick has said he will be happy anywhere.
One scenario has Moyer opening in the season in the rotation and Kendrick opening in the bullpen. If Moyer pitches like the Phillies expect, he would remain in the spot and Kendrick would be the Phils' long man.
If Moyer struggles, he and Kendrick could flip roles like Chan Ho Park and J.A. Happ did last season.
Moyer, who makes $8 million this season, pitched effectively in the bullpen last year, but that was for 1 1/2 months. Dubee thinks Moyer could handle the role for an entire season, but also said Kendrick, who makes $480,000, would be better suited for it.
"I think Kyle would be more flexible because of his youth and the way he would respond," Dubee said. "He could maybe come back and pitch the next day, whereas Jamie, he's got some miles on him, so he's probably not capable of doing it. He'd try to do it. Believe me, he'd try to do anything. But it's probably physically much more taxing on him than Kyle."
Dubee also said the feelings of Kendrick and Moyer -- Kendrick just wanting to be on the team, Moyer unhappy with the last year's demotion -- would not factor into their decision.
"Jamie wasn't happy when he went down there and he responded very well," Dubee said. "I think we've got guys that want to do what's best for our ballclub. That's the one thing I think we've got going is that our guys play to win. They play as 25 guys."
Moyer said he felt "fairly pleased" with the way he pitched Sunday.
"[There's] always room for improvement," he said. "I made some pitches when I had to. I made some pitches and I recovered. I made some adjustments. Now it's just trying to create some consistency with what I'm doing and keep moving forward."
But he must leave the ballpark Sunday feeling pretty good, right?
"I usually leave the ballpark feeling pretty good, win, lose or draw," Moyer said. "It's a great job to have and it's a great situation to be in."
Extra bases: Dubee said left-hander Cole Hamels, who was scheduled to pitch in a Minor League game Sunday, would pitch against the Yankees on Monday at 1:05 p.m. ET on MLB.TV. The Minor League game got rained out. Joe Blanton, who had been scheduled to pitch Monday, will go Tuesday.
Dubee also said closer Brad Lidge will pitch in a Minor League game Monday. Lefty reliever J.C. Romero will pitch in a simulated game Tuesday.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.