Moyer isn't the first pitcher to return from Tommy John elbow ligament transfer surgery, but doing it at age 49 is unique. Moyer's first inning was spotless. He then gave up a leadoff single to Nate Schierholtz but forced a Brandon Crawford grounder, struck out Chris Stewart and ended the inning by coaxing a grounder from Angel Pagan.
"I thought a little about it beforehand but I really tried not to put too much thought into it because I hadn't pitched yet," said Moyer, who worked as a commentator for ESPN when he wasn't rehabbing the injury. "Tonight I'll be able to reflect on it a little bit. But the way I look at it, tomorrow's another work day. I need to continue to push, and I believe I have a long way to go yet."
The comeback won't be complete until Moyer, who signed a Minor League contract with the club over the winter, appears in the regular season. Moyer approached Wednesday with something close to regular-season intensity, using an 82 mph fastball with his curve and a changeup. The only pitch he withheld was his cut fastball. The mix baffles hitters, even though it lacks power.
But Moyer's mind is powerful.
"Today was all about trying to be effective in and out of the strike zone," Moyer said. "Establish that I'm going to throw strikes, more so to myself than the hitter. It establishes itself to the hitter, but I need to create that mindset and actually visualize it.
"I'm a very visual kind of pitcher. I try to see that ball cross the plate, and how the hitters are reacting to the pitches. That's how I learn and it tells me where I am."
Rockies manager Jim Tracy saw an instant replay of the form Moyer has used to earn 267 wins to lead active pitchers.
"Same Jamie Moyer I've seen in the past -- he's just using a tiny bit of the plate, and you can tell by the sequences he's throwing one pitch and already thinking about the next pitch," Tracy said. "He's one pitch ahead, and that's a big part of his success."