He was once a bright and rising star. Now, Mark Prior is just looking for a job as a relief pitcher with the Yankees.
It is often said that baseball, of all the sports, is the most humbling. Prior would have been picked over catcher Joe Mauer--who is on a path to the Hall of Fame-- when Prior was drafted by the Cubs in 2001.
Prior did not want to play for the Twins, so they picked Mauer and the Cubs took Prior. He and Kerry Wood were elite fireballers, but neither could stay healthy.
Wood fared slightly better and is still making nice money as a reliever. Prior has not pitched in the majors since 2006. His career record is 42-29. He signed for non-guaranteed chump change.
Prior is only 30, but Injuries have done him in and and have invaded his big league resume.
Here's a look at what Prior has endured:
September 2002: Strained hamstring while running the bases, out for remainder of the season.
Midseason 2003: Shoulder injury after collision with Marcus Giles.
Preseason 2004: Achilles tendon injury 2 months.
Preseason 2005 : Elbow strain 15 days.
May 27, 2005: Elbow injury after line drive off the bat of Brad Hawpe.
Preseason 2006: Strained shoulder. Out for three months.
July 14, 2006: Strained left oblique in batting practice.
August 14, 2006: Shoulder tendinitis; out for season.
Spring training, 2007: Shoulder surgery, out for season.
March 26, 2008 Shoulder surgery. Went on 60-day DL.
May 16, 2008: Tear in the capsule of his pitching shoulder; shoulder surgery. Out for season.
What chance does Prior have at making the Yankees? Well, If he stays healthy...