Moyer's body of work solid after leaving O's

Al Notebook

April 30, 2006|By COMPILED FROM INTERVIEWS AND OTHER NEWSPAPERS' REPORTS.

When fans talk about the players the Orioles let get away - and let's face it, after eight losing seasons, it's a popular subject - the Seattle Mariners' Jamie Moyer always seems to be on that list.

The soft-tossing left-hander was 25-22 for the Orioles from 1993 to 1995 before leaving for Boston as a free agent.

"I enjoyed playing here for three years. It was a good experience," Moyer said. "I became a free agent and I guess they felt I didn't fit into their plans here, so I moved on."

Moyer, now 43, was known as a good guy and a hard worker, but losing him is a tough one to hammer the Orioles about. Could anyone have predicted the then-33-year-old would go on to win an additional 146 big league games and still be pitching 11 years later? He did it by staying in good shape, changing speeds and never walking more than 66 batters in a season. He has pitched 200 or more innings for five straight years.

"There's no secret," Moyer said of his longevity. "The way I look at it is if my body is still allowing me to do it and I still feel I can contribute to the situation I am in, then why not?"

Remarkably, Moyer has had as many 20-win seasons (two) as the rest of that Orioles' 1995 rotation combined: Scott Erickson (one), Kevin Brown (one), Mike Mussina (zero), Ben McDonald (zero) and Rick Krivda (zero).

Brown, McDonald and Krivda are out of baseball, Erickson is pitching in Triple-A and Mussina is again trying for that elusive 20-win season for the New York Yankees.

As for Moyer, he pitches today against the Orioles at Camden Yards. Fans certainly can wax nostalgic about what might have been if the club had kept Moyer. But don't get too carried away, because Moyer has never taken it easy on his old team.

In 28 games against the Orioles, Moyer is 16-3 with a 2.95 ERA. Among active pitchers, only the Houston Astros' Andy Pettitte has more wins against the Orioles.

Hard-knuckled life

When the Boston Red Sox traded Doug Mirabelli, they had to find a new personal catcher for knuckleball pitcher Tim Wakefield. They chose 28-year-old Josh Bard. He may turn 48 before the season is over.

Bard already has 10 passed balls, including four Wednesday (which was two short of tying the MLB record of six in a game). The all-time passed-ball record in a season is 35, set in 1987.

"I'm not down on [Bard]," said Wakefield, who is 1-4 with a 3.90 ERA in five starts. "He's not the reason I'm losing, so get off him right now."

Flipping out

Delmon Young, maybe the game's best prospect, was suspended indefinitely by the Triple-A International League after flipping his bat off the chest of the plate umpire after a called third strike Wednesday in Durham's game against Pawtucket.

Young, a 20-year-old outfielder who was the first overall pick in the 2003 draft by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, issued a statement Thursday apologizing for the bat toss and saying he never meant to hit the umpire. Young was suspended three days last season for bumping an umpire.

One scout who has watched Young play since high school said of the thrown bat: "Wow, I never saw that coming."

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