ST. LOUIS - For 25 years, Jamie Moyer has defied all odds. He has soft-tossed his way into record books, pitching well beyond any expectations ever set.
At age 47, his incredible major-league career could be in serious jeopardy.
Moyer will go on the disabled list with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament and strained flexor pronator tendon in his left elbow, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. He said Moyer would miss a significant amount of time, and surgery has not been ruled out.
Amaro disclosed that Moyer had been pitching with pain in his elbow recently. On Tuesday, Moyer was asked if the injury was suffered before his start, and he declined to answer. He lasted only one inning Tuesday before removing himself from the game.
"He had some discomfort in his elbow earlier," Amaro said. "It got to the point where it became a real issue for him."
The lefthander had an MRI exam Thursday that revealed the injuries. He will have more testing done to determine the severity of the injuries. Surgery could be needed to repair the ligaments and tendons.
If the sprain in Moyer's ulnar collateral ligament is severe enough, he would require Tommy John surgery. At age 47, it's not a stretch to consider Moyer declining the surgery and calling it quits. He will be a free agent after the season.
But Moyer had two surgeries this past off-season and returned to full health before opening day to earn a spot in the Phillies' rotation. The difference then was the injuries weren't to his pitching elbow.
"He's going to be out quite some time," Amaro said.
Moyer is the active career leader in wins with 267, which ranks 36th all-time. He is one behind Hall of Famer Jim Palmer.
Cole Hamels said losing Moyer would be tough.
"He's a mentor to all of us," Hamels said. "Obviously we'll be fortunate enough to have him around even though he's not pitching. But there's always something you can learn from him when he's pitching."
In the off-season, Amaro said he didn't expect Moyer to be ready for opening day following his four stays in the hospital over the winter. But Moyer was healthy for the beginning of spring training and won a roster spot.
In 19 starts this season, Moyer is 9-9 with a 4.84 ERA. He became the oldest pitcher ever to throw a shutout on May 7, a two-hitter against the Braves.
"No disrespect to Jamie," Amaro said, "but he's been a pleasant surprise after not being in our rotation last year at the end. Coming off the two surgeries, he's been, in a lot of ways, a godsend for us. He's pitched quite well under the circumstances."
A Look at Moyer's Career
Phillies pitcher Jamie Moyer was placed on the disabled list Thursday after suffering both ligament and tendon injuries in his left elbow. It is a career-threatening injury. The Souderton High and St. Joseph's University graduate was drafted by the Cubs in the sixth round in 1984. He made his major-league debut on June 16, 1986, with the Cubs. Moyer is 36th all-time in career wins with 267. He is the all-time leader in home runs allowed with 511. He has started 628 games, pitched 4,020 1/3 innings, and has 10 shutouts and 33 complete games. He has allowed 4,156 hits, 2,036 runs, and 1,137 walks. He has 2,405 strikeouts, 12 balks and 57 wild pitches, and hit 144 batters.
Year Team W-L ERA
1986-88 Cubs 28-34 4.42
1989-90 Texas 6-15 4.74
1991 St. Louis 0-5 5.74
1993-95 Baltimore 25-22 4.41
1996 Boston 7-1 4.50
1997-2006 Seattle 145-87 3.97
2006-2010 Phillies 56-40 4.55
AL 183-125 4.10
NL 84-79 4.53
Career 267-204 4.24
Postseason 3-3 4.14
This season 9-9 4.84
All-time career wins
1. Cy Young 511 22. Randy Johnson 303
2. Walter Johnson 417 23. Lefty Grove 300
6. Warren Spahn 363 26. Tommy John 288
8. Greg Maddux 355 27. Bert Blyleven 287
9. Roger Clemens 354 28. Robin Roberts 286
11. Steve Carlton 329 29. Fergie Jenkins 284
14. Nolan Ryan 324 31. Jim Kaat 283
Don Sutton 324 33. Mike Mussina 270
16. Phil Niekro 318 35. Jim Palmer 268
17. Gaylord Perry 314 36. Jamie Moyer 267
18. Tom Seaver 311 37. Bob Feller 266
21. Tom Glavine 305