Moyer returns after three surgeries

Moyer returns after three surgeries

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- It looks like a race.

Kyle Kendrick threw two scoreless innings in his Grapefruit League debut Thursday against the New York Yankees, and Jamie Moyer allowed three hits and struck out three in three scoreless innings Friday morning in a "B" game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Bright House Field.

Kendrick and the 47-year-old Moyer are the top two competitors this spring for the final job in the Phillies' rotation.

Moyer, who threw 23 of 31 pitches for strikes, had a rough offseason just to get to this point. He had sports hernia surgery on Oct. 2, but had to be hospitalized on Oct. 7 because of a blood infection. He had to be hospitalized again Thanksgiving week because of further complications. He eventually had an abscess removed from his groin. Then he had surgery on his left knee in January.

Moyer had three surgeries and four trips to the hospital in less than four months, but he was on the mound Friday.

He said he considers this just another normal Spring Training for him.

"It has been that since I walked in the door," Moyer said. "For you guys, I don't think it's been that way. But for right now, I feel pretty good.

"I really felt like I could get back with hard work. Without any setbacks -- based on what the doctors were saying and as far as the rehab and everything like that -- I felt like this was very possible. ... I felt like I was pretty diligent in listening to Dr. [Michael] Ciccotti and to [head athletic trainer Scott Sheridan]. And [I need to] just stay persistent with it and try to listen to my body, and not do too much on the days when I felt well. And on the days when I didn't feel as well, [I] tried to listen to that as well -- just continue to try and move forward. Knowing that Spring Training is six to seven weeks long, I felt like I would have plenty of time when I got here to determine where I was and how I was feeling."

2010 Spring Training - null
Sights & Sounds
Spring Training Info

Now he just has to pitch.

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said recently that anybody can be beaten out for a job, including Moyer. Moyer went 16-7 with a 3.71 ERA in 2008, but 10-9 with a 5.47 ERA in 22 starts last season, until Philadelphia demoted him to the bullpen to make room for Pedro Martinez. The move upset Moyer, who thought he had been disrespected. He went 2-1 with a 3.26 ERA in eight appearances (three starts) after his demotion, until he tore tendons in his groin and an abdominal muscle on Sept. 29 against Houston.

But if Moyer and Kendrick both pitch well this spring, does the edge go to Moyer because of his experience and $8 million salary?

Time will tell.

"I felt like I really shouldn't ask a whole lot of myself," Moyer said. "I felt like today was one of those days where you go out and just kind of get a baseline for where I am and how I feel. And I feel like I got through today fairly successful, and my next question is [to] see how I feel tomorrow."

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.