Moyer: Maybe I’ll be back in Seattle in 2012
Leave it to Jamie Moyer to toss out the ultimate tease Wednesday, telling a crowd of about 800 at the Hutch Award ceremony at Safeco Field that he wants to return to baseball in 2012 and leaving the door open to a Mariners reunion.
The former Mariners southpaw underwent Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow seven weeks ago and will have to sit out the upcoming season, but he’s dead set on giving it a go the following year at the age of 49.
“I’m doing great,” Moyer told the gathering at the 46th annual charity event. “I’m about three weeks into rehab. It’s probably be about a full year of rehab. My goal is to make a comeback in 2012. And maybe it’ll be here in Seattle.”
After the luncheon, Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik spoke briefly with Moyer on his way out … but they just exchanged pleasantries, not contract offers.
“Not yet,” Moyer said with a chuckle. “I think he’s got enough headaches right now.”
Realistically, Moyer faces a huge challenge at his age. He already was walking rare ground in pitching in the Major Leagues at 47 when he went 9-9 with a 4.84 ERA for the Phillies.
Now he’s turned 48 on Nov. 18 and then underwent the Tommy John surgery two weeks later. His biggest problem so far was sleeping with the cast on his arm, but he says things figure to get more difficult when he starts throwing.
For now he’s limited to lifting very light weights, elevating Wednesday to 2 pounds with his recovering arm, though his range of motion appears normal and he was showing youngsters how to grip and move their arm when throwing a changeup after the Hutch event.
Braves pitcher Tim Hudson, who received the 2011 Hutch Award at the banquet, returned last season from Tommy John surgery himself and was named the NL Comeback Player of the Year. But Hudson is 35.
Moyer was hitting up Hudson for advice Wednesday, but the Atlanta standout wasn’t sure why.
“I don’t think he needs it,” Hudson said with a grin. “He said he feels great. I’m thinking, ‘How old are you again?’ He’s like 89.”
The two pitching standouts have become friends through off-field endeavors, teaming together on the Moyer Foundation’s “Camp Erin” projects, which offer bereavement retreats for kids whose parents or loved ones have died.
That’s a program near and dear to the hearts of Moyer and his wife, Karen. They approached Hudson and his wife, Kim, several years ago about joining the efforts and the Hudson Family Foundation opened “Camp Erin Atlanta” in ’09.
“They just said, ‘How can we get involved?’” Moyer said. “Karen met with them again yesterday and now they want to open another camp in Auburn (Ala.), where they live. That’s how much this means to them.
“These bereavement camps are needed. There are 2.5 million kids ages 6-17 in this country that are in this type of situation and you’re trying to reach as many as you can. Some of it is due to cancer, or car accidents, or murder. It’s anything and everything.
“I’ve fortunately never had to go through that, but we see kids that do go through it,” Moyer said. “You see why kids start falling through the cracks because some don’t have a support system or know how to deal. We’re trying to teach them coping skills and get them to remember their loved ones in a positive way and move forward and make something of themselves.
“We just need to do these things and set the example for people who need help. There’s not one person at the Hutch or at our camps who asked for the circumstances that have led them there. So when you do have your health, it’s wise to get involved. Unfortunately a lot of people don’t get involved until something directly affects them. That’s not a knock. It’s reality. But it’s important to go out and do the work.”
That goes for charitable causes as well as medical rehab. Moyer, as you’d expect, plans to do both.
(Photo of Moyer talking to Rick Rizzs at the Hutch Award luncheon courtesy of Jamie Moyer Foundation. For more on the Moyer Foundation, visit their website at moyerfoundation.org).