It's difficult enough returning from Tommy John surgery to pitch in the big leagues. It's even more difficult at nearly fifty years old.
Former Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Jamie Moyer told the Seattle News Tribune he will attempt an MLB comeback at 49 years old, more than a year removed from Tommy John surgery to repair his left elbow. He has begun throwing again in hopes of beginning the 2012 season in a Major League rotation.
"I've been throwing since April, and throwing (bullpen sessions) the past seven weeks," Moyer said from his home near San Diego. "I'm throwing two bullpens a week.
"When I threw my first bullpen - 20 pitches - it was like I had a brand new arm. I was amazed how good I felt."
The seemingly ageless Moyer has already won 201 games since turning 30 years old, giving him 267 wins for his career. He most recently pitched with the Phillies in 2010, going 9-9 with a 4.84 ERA in 19 starts.
Moyer underwent Tommy John Surgery in Dec., 2010, and said his comeback effort began immediately after surgery.
"The first thing I asked the doctor about was the rehab process," Moyer said. "I already knew all about the surgery.
"I've heard I'm too old, too slow - there are always people with negative assumptions. But I've also heard from a lot of people my age who think what I'm trying to do is pretty cool - people who work for a living and go to gyms and try to stay competitive in whatever they do.
"If I can help them keep a focus, great," Moyer said. "I appreciate their encouragement."
Hall of Fame executive Pat Gillick has seen Moyer throw and believes he will pitch again. According to Gillick, who has already made a phone call to an MLB team on Moyer's behalf, Moyer "looks just like he always has."
"He's in better shape now than he was in 2008, and he won 16 games for the Phillies that year," Gillick said. "I could tell watching him, talking to him, he still has that fire in his belly.
"You look at his numbers from the time he was traded to Seattle in '96, I doubt there are four or five pitchers in the game who are more games above .500 since then than Jamie - and I don't think he's done."
Moyer doesn't think he's done, either.
"If I came back and pitched one healthy inning and thought, ‘I've had enough,' I'd know I made it back. My goal is to face hitters again - major league hitters - and get them out.
"I've been a pretty consistent pitcher, and whether you throw 95 mph or 55 mph, all that matters is getting outs. I've gotten a lot of outs, pitched a lot of innings.
"I think I can start and help someone win. I know I'm healthy, but saying it doesn't prove anything. You writing it wouldn't prove anything. So I'll have to prove it to anyone who has interest."