Moehler excited about addition of Myers
Right-hander focused on helping the Astros win in 2010
BROOKSHIRE, Texas -- The news of the Astros' signing of Brett Myers had plenty of people wondering what would happen to veteran right-hander Brian Moehler, who was penciled in as the No. 5 starting pitcher on the depth chart.
When Moehler heard of Myers' signing, though, his only thought was happiness. At 38 years old and with retirement warming up in the bullpen, Moehler is desperate for his first taste of the playoffs and was thrilled to see Houston make a move to get better.
"I loved it," he said. "I kind of felt this winter at some point we were going to add a starting pitcher, and I told my agent I wouldn't be surprised if we added somebody like Myers because he did have a relationship with [general manager] Ed [Wade] in Philly. I was correct on that."
The Astros signed Myers to a one-year contract with an option and will plug him into the middle of their rotation behind Roy Oswalt and Wandy Rodriguez. That leaves youngsters Bud Norris and Felipe Paulino and Moehler as the front-runners for the final two rotation slots.
Moehler has extensive experience both as a starter and a reliever in his career and said Thursday he would be willing to perform either role. He went 8-12 with a 5.47 ERA in 29 starts last year, but for his career has appeared in 312 games, including 244 starts.
"Would I like to start? Sure," he said. "Have I done both? Yes. If it makes us stronger, I'm all for it. I just want to win. I literally want to go to the playoffs. That's all I care about. Personal numbers don't mean anything to me anymore. If I pitch well, that's great, and that's what I plan on doing. Whatever role they feel like is better to help the team, then I'm all for it."
Moehler understands adding Myers creates competition, which will push those in the midst of the competition harder. He's had to prove himself nearly all his career, though, and has the kind of experience Norris and Paulino can't yet bring to the table.
"I think if Roy does his thing and Wandy can capitalize on what he did last and with myself and Bud, it's a plus," Moehler said. "Last year was last year, and we need to go out and do it this year, and the key is staying healthy. Not just the pitchers, but everybody."
The Astros picked up Moehler's $3 million salary for 2010 shortly after the season ended. Moehler underwent surgery in October in Houston to repair a torn tendon and remove some loose bodies in his right knee and began running just last week. He was on the disabled list last April 14-May 4 with a right knee strain.
"It really feels good," Moehler said. "I've been lifting [weights] for a few months now. After the first 10 days, things started to take off. I'm pleased with the way things were going. I had a good test [Wednesday] night when I sat on the airplane for three hours with my knees cramped up to my ears and didn't have a problem."
Moehler was in Houston for a few days to take part in the Astros' winter caravan and also to receive an award Thursday night at the 25th annual Houston Baseball Dinner. Moehler will be the recipient of the Darryl Kile Award, given to the individual who reflects the qualities of decency and character represented by the former Astros pitcher.
Moehler, manager Brad Mills and Astros icon Craig Biggio visited with adults with special needs at a pep rally Thursday afternoon and later signed autographs for fans at a local department store.
"This was great," Moehler said. "These are the people that get us going and get us motivated from the stands. They are true fans, and they want to see a winning team. And we want to be that winning club. It's good to get out there and mingle with the people that want us to do well."
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.