KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Finally, it's official.
Jamie Moyer has won the final spot in the Phillies' starting rotation, manager Charlie Manuel said after Tuesday's game against the Astros. Meanwhile, Kyle Kendrick, who pitched just as well as Moyer did this spring, has earned a spot in the opening day bullpen.
Kendrick started Tuesday's game and pitched just two innings before he was taken out. In the dugout, pitching coach Rich Dubee told Kendrick of the team's decision.
"We think it’s the right way to go," Dubee said. "Jamie proved that he’s healthy. That was the biggest question coming into spring training, how he’d come back from the surgeries. He’s throwing the ball well. He’s functioning well. And again, this guy has a tremendous track record of being a winning pitcher."
Should Jamie Moyer be the Phillies' 5th starter?
Dubee looked at the situation in a different perspective for Kendrick.
"He won a job," Dubee said. "He didn’t lose the starting job. In my mind, it was going to be a tough thing to do if Jamie was healthy to win that job from Jamie Moyer. Kyle won a job on our roster."
Given the fact that Brad Lidge and J.C. Romero will begin the season on the disabled list and the way Jose Contreras and Antonio Bastardo have struggled this spring, Kendrick's role in the bullpen could be significant. Moyer, 47, isn't able to bounce back as quickly as Kendrick can after a relief outing.
That was a factor in the decision, Manuel said.
"Kyle can offer a lot of things if he’s throwing the ball the way he’s capable. He can pitch in the middle. He can give us distance. He’s a ground ball thrower when he’s right."
For the 47-year-old Moyer, it's an incredible story. He underwent three off-season surgeries and stayed another time in the hospital with a blood infection. With his track record of 23 seasons in the majors, he had the initial advantage, but needed to prove his health on the mound.
He did that. In 11 2/3 innings of Grapefruit League play, Moyer allowed just one run.
"He came in and he was in better shape physically than we realized," Manuel said. "When we sent him out there a few times for the B games, that helped him get ready. These last two times out, he pitched like Jamie Moyer is supposed to pitch."