Moyer's preparation is reason he's still pitching at 45

Updated: June 30, 2008

AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez

Jamie Moyer, 45, will return to the mound Saturday. This time between starts is important.

MOYER'S RECOVERY TIME

The key as you get older as a pitcher is staying in shape and staying strong. The problem is that you have to have enough time to recover and be properly rested to make the next start. So, yes, there is a balance that needs to be struck between the workout you need to keep fit and the rest you need to get ready for your pitching day.

Fortunately for him, Jamie Moyer's repertoire is built on command, not strength. Not to say there's less effort on a Moyer pitch, but there is certainly less wear and tear. For an older pitcher such as Nolan Ryan, who threw hard, there was way more effort and wear and tear on his body per pitch than on a Moyer pitch. Still, Moyer might have to back off on certain workouts knowing he won't be able to pitch effectively if he goes too hard. Other times, he might be able to push it a bit more and stay strong.

As long as you can still execute your pitches the longer you pitch into a career, the better you are. It's one thing to have experience, and another thing to learn from it. Moyer has certainly done that. He has a wide variety of pitches and can adapt them to any situation. You can't put him in a situation he hasn't faced before. For example, if there's a right-handed hitter he's starting to struggle against by trying to throw his changeup away, he can develop a cut fastball and start throwing that inside to that particular hitter.

The game has definitely changed since Moyer started in the big leagues. The strike zone is smaller today and hitters are stronger. Also, the availability of information and scouting has greatly expanded. The game is more offensive, partly because foul territory has decreased in a lot of parks.

Because of Moyer's experience, the catcher is going to listen to him more about pitch selection and location. The catcher might offer more of a suggestion. Late in my career, I'd give my catchers my own signs about what I wanted to throw. For example, I'd wait until the batter wasn't looking and shake my arm. That meant I wanted to throw a changeup. If I puckered my lips, I was looking to throw a slider. Part of the reason I'd do that is that you don't want to go through a bunch of signs and lose your rhythm, but you also don't want a young catcher to lose his confidence if you keep shaking him off.

I don't think you can compliment a pitcher enough for pitching as long as Moyer has, especially with his lack of velocity. It's not intimidating to the batter to face him. The batter won't be uncomfortable at any moment at the plate, unlike facing a big-time pitcher with prime stuff. When you have a hitless night against a Brandon Webb or Chien-Ming Wang or any guy who has a fastball that can really hurt you, you leave the ballpark feeling uncomfortable. Even if you don't get a hit against Moyer, it's like you went on a picnic and sat under a shady tree all day.

Past Baseball Tonight Clubhouses: June 29 | June 26 | June 25 | June 24 | June 23 | June 22

GOING OUT IN STYLE

Want to send in comments for use on "Baseball Tonight"? Join the "Chatter Up!" chat on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Click here for a look back at last week's chat.

June closed with a bang.

Curtis Granderson capped another Tigers comeback win with a go-ahead hit in Monday's victory over the Twins.

Ken Griffey Jr. relived the old days by hitting a game-ending two-run homer against the Pirates.

And Josh Willingham set off a wild celebration for the Marlins with a game-winning homer in the 10th against Washington.

Don't forget the two guys wearing Chicago uniforms. The White Sox's Nick Swisher and the Cubs' Mark DeRosa both hit grand slams in games in which they each hit two homers.

Monday's Comeback Parade
Last Deficit Final score Note
Marlins 5-4 in 9th Marlins 6, Nats 5 in 10 Hanley Ramirez tied game with HR in 9th
Royals 5-4 in 9th Royals 6, Orioles 5 in 11 Were 0-40 this season when trailing entering 9th
Reds 3-2 in 9th Reds 4, Pirates 3 Griffey's fifth career game-ending HR
Tigers 4-3 in 8th Tigers 5, Twins 4 Tigers lead baseball with 25 comeback wins
Padres 8-3 in 6th Padres 15, Rockies 8 Padres had season-highs in runs (15) and hits (22)

FORWARD THINKING: TUESDAY

Tim Wakefield • Red Sox at Rays, 7:10 p.m. ET: Tim Wakefield (5-5, 3.88 ERA) has seen his knuckler wobble a bit more this season than in years past. He is eighth in the AL in walks and is on pace for 80, which would be his highest total since 1997. Matt Garza (6-4, 3.76 ERA) flirted with a no-hitter last time out. He gave up just one hit -- a solo homer to Hanley Ramirez -- in a win against Florida.

Nate Robertson • Tigers at Twins, 8:10 p.m. ET: Nate Robertson (6-6, 5.23 ERA) is coming off a wild start in which he gave up 11 hits but just one run. Scott Baker (4-2, 3.57 ERA) has pitched against the Tigers twice this season. He was injured in his May 3 outing against Detroit.

Rich Harden • A's at Angels, 10:05 p.m. ET: Rich Harden (5-0, 2.15 ERA) has permitted just one run over his past three starts, a stretch of 19 2/3 innings. Ervin Santana (9-3, 3.32 ERA) is 8-1 with a 1.38 ERA in 12 career appearances (11 starts) against the A's.

Complete list of pitching probables for Tuesday's games


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BBTN ON THE AIR: TUESDAY

TIME WHO'S ON?
10 p.m. ET
ESPN
Host: Karl Ravech
Analysts: Peter Gammons,
Chris Singleton, Fernando Vina
Midnight ET
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Host: Karl Ravech
Analysts: Chris Singleton,
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BBTN MINUTE: PHILLIES-BRAVES PREVIEW

MONDAY'S NOTEWORTHY PERFORMANCES

GOOD
Roy HalladayRoy Halladay tossed a complete-game, four-hit shutout in a 2-0 win against the Mariners. It was Halladay's 10th career shutout.
BAD
De La RosaJorge De La Rosa gave up 11 hits and six runs against the Padres. Colorado pitchers ended up giving up 22 hits in the loss.
UGLY
Milton BradleyMilton Bradley had a frustrating night, going 0-for-4 with four strikeouts against the Yankees. He also stranded five runners.

"TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLGAME"

Ballgame It's the 100th anniversary of baseball's most famous tune, and "Baseball Tonight" has asked nine popular musical artists to record a rendition of the song to be used in a battle of the bands. Take a listen and vote on your favorite one. The top three vote-getters will be announced on July 6.

• Latest video: REO Speedwagon

FANTASY: PREVIEW OF TUESDAY'S GAMES

Will Harris examines the pitching matchups in store for the 15 games on Tuesday's schedule.

Fantasy Harris also looks at injuries and details player reports that could help shape the way you put together your roster for Tuesday. Daily Notes

FANTASY FIRST TAKE: REPLACEMENT PLAYERS

NEWS AND NOTES

Justin MastersonJustin Masterson, the losing pitcher in Monday's game with the Rays, gave up a pair of homers in a loss. In 12 innings against the Rays, he has given up four homers. Masterson has permitted eight total homers this year.

Joel ZumayaJoel Zumaya got five outs to pick up the save against Minnesota. It was Zumaya's first save since April 12, 2007. The outing was Zumaya's third consecutive scoreless appearance.

THIS DATE IN MLB HISTORY (JULY 1)

1945: After being away from the game for four years, Hank Greenberg made a dramatic return in front of an emotional crowd of 47,700 at Briggs Stadium, homering in his first game after being released from the military. Greenberg's homer helped the first-place Tigers beat the A's, 9-5.

1982: Considered a questionable decision at the time, Cal Ripken was moved from third base to shortstop by Orioles manager Earl Weaver.

1990: As the White Sox celebrated Comiskey Park's 80th birthday, Yankees' pitcher Andy Hawkins tossed a no-hitter but lost the game to the White Sox, 4-0.

2005: After walking 2,100 miles from Camp Verde, Ariz., to Wrigley Field, Bill Holden threw out the first ceremonial pitch and led the crowd in singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the Cubs' game with the Nationals. Inspired by the film "This Old Cub", a documentary about former Cubs All-Star third baseman Ron Santo, who lost both his legs to diabetes, the 56-year-old school teacher, with two bad knees, pounded the pavement for 172 days and raised $250,000 for juvenile diabetes research.