Playoff hopes drive Moehler toward return

Playoff hopes drive Moehler toward return

HOUSTON -- A little more than two weeks after undergoing surgery on his lower abdomen, veteran Astros right-hander Brian Moehler has started running and looking forward to perhaps playing again next season.

"I'm feeling real good," said Moehler, who went 1-4 with a 4.92 ERA in 20 games (eight starts) this year for Houston. "I'm jogging every day and doing a bunch of exercises now, and I feel real good."

Had the season not been coming to an end, Moehler would be able to start throwing next week, but he's not going to rush that at this point. He's a free agent at the end of the year and is going to prepare like he's going to pitch again next year, with hopes of finally reaching the playoffs.

Moehler reached the Majors in 1996 and has yet to pitch in the postseason.

"The only thing that drives me is making the playoffs," he said. "If I had a ring on my finger, I don't know if I'd play next year, but I've never been to the playoffs. I'd be open to coming back here, because I don't think this team is all that far away at all.

"A lot of the main pieces are in place for this team to be very successful next year. That's something I would be open to. I want to go to the playoffs. I'm jealous of guys I played with and that have rings now. I'm glad some guys, like Michael Young and Mike Sweeney, are going to get to the playoffs for the first time."