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Mark Prior is healthy and trying to win bullpen job with Reds

Mar 19, 2013, 12:16 PM EDT

Mark Prior AP

Mark Sheldon of has an update on Mark Prior’s latest comeback attempt with the Reds, which so far has involved a few relief appearances.

Prior told Sheldon that he’s fully healthy and generally pleased with his performance, but the most interesting part of the article is this quote from the former phenom about his life among minor leaguers in recent years:

Some of these guys were born in 1995. They were seven or eight years old when I broke in and I broke in young. I think it surprises people when I tell them I’m 32 because they think I should be older. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on how you’re looking at it, I’ve been in extended [spring] and around a lot of minor league guys. They have enthusiasm for the game.

I’m on the back side of my career. They’re on the front side. You enjoy seeing their desire to play and their will to play. It’s refreshing. I can’t keep up with them necessarily running and stuff. They keep you having fun. They’re fun to hang out with. I’ve enjoyed my time in the minor leagues the last few years. I don’t want to be there, nobody wants to be there, but it’s a good bunch of guys.

Prior finished third in the Cy Young voting at age 22, but then saw what had the potential to be a Hall of Fame career ruined by injuries and hasn’t thrown a pitch in the majors since 2006. The fact that he’s still trying to make it back to the big leagues six years later and has such a good attitude about the struggles he’s gone through in the process is pretty remarkable.

Hard not to root for the guy.

  1. proudlycanadian - Mar 19, 2013 at 12:17 PM

    He simply likes to play the game.

  2. latchbeam - Mar 19, 2013 at 12:25 PM

    Man, I hope he wins the job! Great, class guy and still hasn’t given up… he is a warrior!

    • professormaddog31 - Mar 19, 2013 at 12:53 PM

      It’d be nice to see him up in the bigs one last time, giving it all he’s got, and be able to walk away a winner or at least on his own terms, much like his former colleague Kerry Wood.

      I have nothing but mad respect for Prior. Always have.

  3. randygnyc - Mar 19, 2013 at 12:26 PM

    Can’t question Prior’s determination or passion for the game. Not many guys who had achieved such success/acclaim could put their ego aside and posses the humility to attempt to work their way back over such a long period of time.

  4. jonrox - Mar 19, 2013 at 12:30 PM

    It’s hard to see who he would bump out of the bullpen. The Reds already had one of the best (if not the best) bullpens in the Majors last year, with so much talent that a guy like J.J. Hoover finished the season in the minors despite a sub-1.0 WHIP in 30 IP.

    With everyone back, I think it’s going to take some significant struggles out of someone like Alfredo Simon or a significant injury for Prior to make it up. I’m not sure anyone, besides Hoover, has any options left.

    • jm91rs - Mar 19, 2013 at 12:49 PM

      My thoughts exactly. I’m hoping the guy does well, but he may have picked the wrong team to try to latch on to. I’m betting even Hoover doesn’t start the year in the bigs because there’s just no room. But injuries happen, hopefully he sticks around long enough in Louisville to get the call up later.

  5. andyreidisthegoat - Mar 19, 2013 at 12:30 PM

    Just use HGH. You’ll be fine. The rest of the league does.

  6. Jeremy T - Mar 19, 2013 at 12:30 PM

    Prior and Dusty meet again…

    • jm91rs - Mar 19, 2013 at 12:50 PM

      Everyone blames dusty for what happened. Everyone except the one guy that would know. You think if Pryor doesn’t have a problem with it maybe the rest of us should move on?

      • tuberippin - Mar 19, 2013 at 3:08 PM

        I dunno, Richard Pryor had problems with a lot of things.

  7. professormaddog31 - Mar 19, 2013 at 12:50 PM

    Mark Prior’s always going to be one of my favorite dudes. It’s such a shame that his body failed him so miserably, because he was such a joy to watch. I hope he does well in this go-round, I hope he stays positive. That guy is a class act, and I wish him success in everything he does.

  8. jbro3169 - Mar 19, 2013 at 1:13 PM

    Well Im thinking he’s going to make the team because Dusty kind of owes him a favor…for ya know…ruining his career and all

  9. jessethegreat - Mar 19, 2013 at 1:19 PM

    Think of how good the Cubbies rotation would have been had Woody and Prior continued in their early trajectories for long term success…

  10. ningenito78 - Mar 19, 2013 at 2:18 PM

    I can’t even imagine how frustrating it has to be for a guy like Prior and the talent he had to just not be able to get your body to get back in line. Six years of probably just sitting there knowing what you have to do and just your body not doing it. Such a shame. Maybe this will be the year.

  11. ndrocks2 - Mar 19, 2013 at 2:43 PM

    Huge fan – BUT he will come up injured at some point probably before spring training ends, no way he sees June without a DL stint. That black cloud will hang over him forever unfortunately…

  12. gogigantos - Mar 19, 2013 at 4:28 PM

    good for him
    chase that dream til you just can’t no more
    the kids make you feel old, hahahahahaha
    wait til you truly too old to chase that dream and say you didn’t do it,,,
    good for you kid,, get back to the show and make us all glad you did

  13. datdangdrewdundunituhgin - Mar 19, 2013 at 10:32 PM

    great story. i am sending positive thoughts for his return, but what i find really neat is that he seems to be really enjoying the journey. we can all sit here and rue the circumstances if his career derailed, but mark looks to be content just battling, and hasn’t lost sight of the fact he’s still playing the game we all love, and doing it with grace. how can you not pull for him?

    i hope that he can make a withdrawal this time from his karmic bank account.

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