Work ethic secret to Moehler's longevity

Moehler works with one goal in mind

MILWAUKEE -- Long before many of his teammates arrive at the ballpark each day, Brian Moehler has already worked up a sweat. He's probably lifted some weights and ran a few sprints, and he can be spotted sprawled out on the outfield grass doing crunches or sit-ups.

He's made more than $10 million in his 13-year Major League career and is one of the game's most respected veterans, so why, at 37 years old, does Moehler put himself through so much nearly every day of the week?

"What drives me is the opportunity to play in the playoffs and win a championship," he said. "I've never been to the playoffs. Some of these guys in this room have rings. [Geoff] Blum, [Chris] Coste and Pudge [Rodriguez] have rings, and [Doug] Brocail has been to the playoffs. I've never been, and I've got to believe that I'm probably one of the longest-tenured guys in the big leagues who hasn't been."

Moehler (7-8, 5.32 ERA) will make his 21st start for the Astros on Saturday against the Brewers. He's coming off a pair of subpar outings, but he has turned in quality starts in seven of his past 11 outings.

Prior to Friday's series opener against the Brewers at Miller Park, Moehler was working out alone on the outfield grass as he does nearly every day. It's something he's done since he was in college in 1990 at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro.

"When I got to college in 1990, our head coach there was a big fitness guy -- a martial arts guy," Moehler said. "He stressed a lot of discipline and a lot of extra work. Back then, you didn't have NCAA hours rules like you have now, and now you can only practice a certain number of hours a week.

"Our practices ran long, and everything was very disciplined and structured. It's kind of the way I've tailored my workouts from then. I get paid to play this game to pitch, but also I have to be prepared when I go out there. I just try to stay in shape and do the little things."

Moehler's workout routine changes daily. He runs and lifts weights most days, and there's usually some kind of exercise to strengthen the core of his body. As his day to start nears, the the workout tapers off.

Moehler's hard work doesn't stop in the offseason. He takes a month off when the season ends, but on Nov. 1 he's back at it, working out three days a week in Atlanta with fellow big leaguers Adam Everett, Jeremy Hermida and Nick Markakis, among others.

"It's something that has worked for me throughout the years," Moehler said. "I think each player has something that works for them. That's part of the process of being a Minor Leaguer, figuring out what works for you. The strength and conditioning I do is something that works for me. I'm 37 years old, but I still feel pretty good.

"Whenever I'm done playing, I don't want to look in the mirror and say, 'What if I had done this? What if I would have done a little bit more? What would have happened?' Whenever I'm done playing, I want to say, 'I've got nothing left,' and I'll be OK with that."

Pitching matchup
HOU: RHP Brian Moehler (7-8, 5.32 ERA)
Moehler saw his five-game road winning streak snapped Monday in a loss to the Marlins in Miami. Moehler gave up four hits and four runs in the first inning, but set down 13 of the final 15 batters he faced, including 12 during one stretch. Moehler, who has lost three consecutive decisions and three of four starts, is 4-8 with a 4.71 ERA in 20 career games (11 starts) against the Brewers, including 1-2 with a 3.80 ERA at Miller Park in nine games.

MIL: RHP Mike Burns (2-4, 5.89 ERA)
With right-handers Dave Bush and Jeff Suppan still on the disabled list, Burns will get another go of it as a starter. Burns is 2-4 with a 6.75 ERA in six starts for Milwaukee, but he pitched better in his most recent outing, against the Padres, giving up three runs on nine hits in 5 2/3 innings. In his relief appearance against Houston on Saturday, Burns pitched a perfect ninth inning.

Tidbits
The Astros are 56-60, which is the same record they had at this point in the 2004 season. They finished 36-10 that year and made the playoffs. ... Entering Friday, first baseman Lance Berkman had a career batting average of .329 against the Brewers, which ranks second among Milwaukee opponents (Albert Pujols is hitting .339). ... Darin Erstad was hitting .500 in his past 12 pinch-hit appearances prior to Friday.

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Up next
• Sunday: Astros (Roy Oswalt, 6-4, 3.87) at Brewers (Braden Looper, 10-6, 4.99), 1:05 p.m. CT
• Monday: Off-day
• Tuesday: Astros (Bud Norris, 3-0, 3.00) vs. Marlins (Ricky Nolasco, 8-8, 5.44), 7:05 p.m. CT

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.