Moylan returns to America after being away nine years
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Peter Moylan made such a good impression in the World Baseball Classic that he's got another chance to make it to the big leagues -- nine years after he squandered the last one.
The 27-year-old Australian is certainly the most intriguing player in camp for the Atlanta Braves, having signed with the team last weekend after pitching for his native country in the WBC.
Moylan has been working as a salesman for a pharmaceutical company and playing a couple of days a week with a club team in Australia, the Blackburn Orioles.
He was assigned to the minor league camp but quickly got a chance to pitch for the Braves, working two innings in Saturday's 10-6 win over the Cincinnati Reds. He allowed four hits and a run, striking out one.
"It felt pretty good," Moylan said. "I left a few sinkers up, but it's always good to get the first one out of the way."
Braves manager Bobby Cox was impressed with the newcomer's repertoire, which includes a 90-plus mph fastball.
"The Australian looked all right," Cox said. "He's got a nice little breaking ball and a changeup. That's a good sign. It's not like he cost us a fortune."
Moylan got his first chance at the majors after high school, signing with the Minnesota Twins. He spent two seasons in the rookie leagues but couldn't throw harder than the high 80s and irritated the organization with his immaturity.
"I didn't know what it was like to work," he said. "I wasn't into getting up and going to work."
After the 1997 season, he was released by the Twins. He returned to Australia, endured a couple of back operations and began throwing with a sidearm motion about six months ago. Suddenly, he had a lot more pop on the ball.
Moylan was picked to play for Australia in the WBC, raising plenty of eyebrows when he struck out four -- including big league All-Stars Bobby Abreu, Magglio Ordonez and Ramon Hernandez -- and walked five in 1 2-3 innings against Venezuela.
Moylan's stuff is big league quality. It's just a matter of learning to control it, and he blamed nerves for his wildness in the WBC.
"It was the first time I've pitched in front of a crowd in seven years," he said.
Moylan made it through his first spring training game without walking anyone. He will begin the season in the minor leagues, with hopes of getting called up to Atlanta before the year is out.
His wife and 5-year-old daughter, Montana, are already planning to join him in April once he learns where he'll start the season.
"I want to make it. I think I've got the stuff to make it," he said. "I want to (show) all those guys who said I was done in 1997."
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
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