Sunday, January 24, 2010

Ex-Cubs Ace Mark Prior Refuses to Give Up

Former Cubs ace Mark Prior -- whose promising career has been nearly destroyed by a myriad of punishing injuries -- refuses to hang up his spikes and has been readying himself for a demonstration before major league scouts in Arizona.

"Mark Prior has not retired," a spokesperson for Prior's agent John Boggs said in terse statement with no details of the 29-year-old hurler's progress during an ongoing rehabilitation program resumed in November.

Neither was there word on any throwing sessions scheduled with observers from teams throughout the majors, though sources familiar with long-shot comeback attempts said such meetings often are held unofficially, one-on-one behind closed doors.

Prior seems to be keeping a low profile, but reportedly was seen in street clothes on New Year's Day in La Jolla, Calif., near his hometown of San Diego. He is recovering from shoulder damage that required multiple surgical repairs, and he also has sustained hamstring, achilles tendon, elbow and oblique injuries.

Prior signed a $1 million contract with the Padres in 2008 but was unable to appear in a single game. He then agreed to an additional $1 million contract with the Padres the following year, contingent upon his callup from the minor leagues.

Again Prior was unable to make even a single appearance, having last pitched in a major league game in 2006, when he went 1-6 with a 7.71 ERA for the Cubs.

Prior signed for a then-record $10.5 million bonus as the second overall pick in the 2001 draft. He notched his most successful season in 2003, when he went 18-6 with a 2.43 ERA while striking out 245 batters in 211.1 innings.