SCOTTSDALE, Ariz — Jamie Moyer showed up in spring training convinced he could make the Colorado Rockies rotation.
He spent the last six weeks proving his point.
The Rockies announced Friday that the 49-year-old Moyer will make the team and will start the second game of the regular season, April 7, at Houston. Moyer becomes the oldest starting pitcher to make an Opening Day roster.
The announcement came on the 20th anniversary of Moyer being released by the Chicago Cubs. That was the third year in a row he had been released, having been sent packing the two previous years by St. Louis and Texas.
"A lot has happened," he said with a smile.
And now he has a chance to make even more happen.
"I look at this as an opportunity, a great opportunity to run with," he said. "I don’t look at each start as my last start, but I have learned to appreciate things more. I’m not too sentimental, but I am aware."
Hoyt Wilhelm was 49 when he opened the 1972 season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, but he pitched strictly in relief, appearing in 16 games and compiling a 2.84 ERA. Jack Quinn was used as a reliever at the age of 49 in 1932 and 50 in 1933.
Satchel Paige is the oldest pitcher to appear in a game, making a start and working three shutout innings for the Kansas City Athletics at age 57 on Sept. 25, 1965. Paige had been out of baseball, but was signed by A's owner Charlie Finley so he could qualify for a pension.
Moyer will be 49 years, 4 months and 20 days old when he makes the start against Houston. Quinn won three games in 1932, the last coming on Sept. 13, 1932 at the age of 49 years, 2 months, 21 days, which means Moyer could break that record with a win.
"I intend to win more than one game," he said. "If age had a bearing on my decision I wouldn’t be doing this."
Moyer’s motivation extends past personal accomplishments.
"This is an opportunity that I have and now it’s up to me to run with it," he said.
"I want to contribute here, that’s what it is all about. I want to contribute on the field and in the clubhouse. This is about pitching for a team and putting forth the best effort I can along with 24 other players to make the team successful."
Rockies manager Jim Tracy said the decision was made after seeing how well Moyer responded the day after a 92-pitch, four-inning effort against the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday.
"I wanted to make sure physically he is in the right place, and I am confident he is," said Tracy.
Moyer, who missed the 2011 season recovering from Tommy John surgery, is 267-204 in his big-league career. He has won 233 games since turning 30, sixth on the all-time list for a pitcher after his 30th birthday, two behind Randy Johnson. Cy Young is the all-time leader with 316 wins after 30.
Moyer's 103 wins since turning 40 are second-most in baseball history, 18 behind Phil Niekro.
Moyer has a chance to add a few more wins to his totals.
— Tracy Ringolsby