Grumpy Old Man

Phils' Moyer upset by demotion to the pen

The oldest player in the majors sounded like a grumpy old man Tuesday when he complained about being put out to pasture in the bullpen.

Phillies pitcher Jamie Moyer lashed out at team management Tuesday, saying he felt "misled" by the club and "disheartened" by its decision to demote him to the bullpen.

Moyer was dropped from the rotation to make room for Pedro Martinez, set to return to the majors when he starts Wednesday night against the Chicago Cubs.

Known for his steady demeanor, the 46-year-old Moyer chose an unusual way to make his statement: He sat in the stands behind the Phillies' first-base dugout at Wrigley Field and addressed the media.

"I feel a little disheartened," the 22-year veteran said. "I feel a little bit like I've been misled. I feel like I've played this game long enough that the respect factor should be there."

Moyer leads the NL East-leading Phillies in wins and losses with a 10-9 record. His 5.47 ERA is among the highest in the majors. He went 16-7 last year and helped the Phillies win the World Series.

After long negotiations he signed a $13 million, two-year contract in the offseason. Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. assured him he would not be sent to the bullpen, Moyer said.

"Ultimately, I'm a little disheartened because I know this past winter, when I was negotiating with the Phillies, this was a sore thumb, if you will, about this potentially happening,'' Moyer said.

"You can't promise anything in this game, but I really felt that Ruben kind of parlayed to me that this type of situation would not happen."

Moyer was told Monday he would be going to the bullpen. The recently signed Martinez, a three-time Cy Young winner, will start in his place. Moyer was shipped to the pen instead of rookie J.A. Happ who leads Phillies' starters with a 2.75 ERA.

"When we signed Moyer in December it was under the pretense of being a starter," Amaro said in a statement through a team spokesman. "But right now circumstances have changed and that's why we're moving him to the bullpen."

For his part Martinez said he felt badly about Moyer's situation.

"I have all the respect in the world" for him, said Martinez, who recalled spending time with Moyer at batting practice during their years in the American League. "It was always a mutual respect and admiration."

"But Jamie being older and longer in the game, I kind of admired him. I was a young buck coming up and he was a steady veteran... He's my friend, my teammate and my colleague. Of course I have to feel (for him)."

Moyer is 256-194 lifetime. He made his major league debut in 1986 at Wrigley Field, when he pitched the Cubs past Steve Carlton
and the Phillies.

Despite his displeasure, Moyer said he would do what the Phillies asked of him.

"I do not want to be a distraction," he said. "I refuse to be a distraction. This is a job, too, that sometimes you're in situations that you like or dislike. You have to deal with it."

The decision to send Moyer to the bullpen was a difficult one for manager Charlie Manuel who always stays loyal to his veteran players (i.e. Brad Lidge).

"It was tough," Manuel said. "I would say this might have been the toughest decision I've ever made because of who it is."

Manuel acknowledged he didn't know how he would use Moyer, but said he could become a situational lefty. The manager was not sure how long it would take Moyer to get loose and worried about messing up the pitcher's routine, which Manuel credited for a large part of the lefty's success.

"We'll look for places to pitch him and keep him sharp," Manuel said. "Who knows what's going to happen?"

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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