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08/09/08 8:55 PM ET
Moyer doesn't rule out playing to 50
Pirates manager Russell thinks left-hander can do it
By Joseph Santoliquito / Special to MLB.com
PHILADELPHIA -- It was meant as a compliment, not as a goal. Pirates manager John Russell goes way back with Phillies starter Jamie Moyer, the oldest player in the Majors. Russell used to catch Moyer, when they played together with the Texas Rangers in 1990. Russell saw the preparation Moyer took then -- 18 years ago -- to get ready for a season and a game.
It's the same measured, detail-oriented preparation Moyer still takes in getting his body ready today for a game.
That's why Russell isn't surprised at all that the Phils' 45-year-old lefty is 10-7 with a 3.78 ERA, and shows no signs of slowing down.
"Jamie was a workhorse back then, such a student of the game," Russell said. "This isn't a surprise to me at all. He's still pitching and I think he can go until he's 50. He keeps himself in great shape and with the things he does."
When the question was posed to Moyer about pitching until he's 50, the veteran first had a quizzical look, followed by a smirk. But Moyer started to think more about the question.
"John said that, huh? Well it's something that's five years away," Moyer said. "Right now, I'm going pretty well and I feel pretty good, trying to take things one step at a time. The point with me is being able to stay healthy and pitch effectively. I still deal with the minor aches and pains, and we're talking about five years from now. I'd have my family to talk to about it, and they're first. But you never know, I'm not ruling it out.
"I'll be 46 next year and I will be back next year. I enjoy the National League, and I'm swinging the bat well. Well, I'm swinging the bat well in batting practice. I do intend to play next year, and I feel pretty good. Not as good as I did the first day of Spring Training, but I don't think anyone here feels the way they did the first day of Spring Training."
"I'm not going to rule it out, if I'm still able to be effective," Moyer said. "I have an obligation here that I plan on upholding next year with the Phillies, so I will be back at 46. Hey, 50 is five years away. It's not something I'm ruling out."