By Larry Fine
(Reuters) - The new season will have an old hand trying to set a Major League Baseball record when Jamie Moyer takes the mound for the Colorado Rockies on the opening weekend of the 2012 campaign.
The 49-year-old Moyer, who has battled back from elbow surgery to make the Rockies' rotation, has been tabbed as the team's second starter, scheduled to pitch Saturday against the Houston Astros.
He would become the oldest pitcher to register a win.
"I'm doing something I love, something I still have a passion for, and something I still think I can contribute to," Moyer told New York's WFAN radio on Sunday.
The soft-throwing left-hander is two months older than Jack Quinn, who set the standard for pitching elders when he beat the St Louis Cardinals for the Brooklyn Dodgers in September 1932 at Ebbets Field at the age of 49 years, 74 days.
It would not be the first major league mark for the slender Moyer, who has yielded a record 511 home runs in his 24-year career.
Moyer, who began his MLB career in 1986 with the Chicago Cubs, suffered the elbow injury playing in the Dominican winter league following his 9-9 2010 season with the Philadelphia Phillies.
Winning the job with the Rockies after missing the 2011 campaign has allowed the crafty southpaw to continue playing the game he loves.
"This is a dream when I was a little boy in Little League baseball. It was a dream when I was in high school. It was a dream when I was in college. It was a dream when I was in the minor leagues and it was a dream throughout my whole career," Moyer said in the radio interview.
"And I think as I've gotten older I've learned to appreciate the dream a little more. Some say it's hard to let go. It is hard to let go. But if you still believe you have something to contribute, I say, 'Why not?'"
Moyer, who has relied on placement, change of speeds and guile to amass a career record of 267-204 with the Mariners, Phillies, Cubs, Orioles and Rangers, said determination and dedication can make up for lack of a bristling fastball.
"You can have the best tools in the world, but if you don't know how to use them appropriately, a lot of those guys fall to the side," said Moyer, who is older than eight current MLB managers and 16 general managers.
"In my career I have seen so many people with so much more talent than me, that didn't have quite the desire or didn't want to be there, or couldn't put the effort in on a daily basis and got worn down by the struggles of the game."
Moyer said he believed he could still make a difference, on the mound and among his new Colorado team mates.
"I'm in a fairly young organization," he said about the up-and-coming Rockies.
"The credentials I bring here, I can help some of these kids with how to deal with things, how to prepare, and try to help them turn that corner to become a major league baseball player."
(Reporting By Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Steve Ginsburg)