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Mark Mulder credits Paco Rodriguez for spurring his comeback attempt

Jan 11, 2014, 9:50 PM EDT

MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez has a wonderful piece up in which he details Mark Mulder’s attempt to make a comeback in 2014 after nearly six years since he last pitched in the Majors. The whole story borders on too improbable to believe, but perhaps the most interesting part of the story is how the comeback attempt was conceived:

Mulder calls his decision to pitch again “a flat-out fluke.” Some may call it divine intervention.

It happened on a random October night in the living room of his Phoenix home, when Mulder watched Dodgers reliever Paco Rodriguez pitch, acted out what it would feel like to separate his hands much higher upon his delivery, and came away intrigued.

A couple nights later, he grabbed a rubber baseball, went out to his backyard, handed his wife a cell phone and had her record footage of him repeatedly throwing pitches against the wall.

“And I was amazed that my arm was working the right way,” Mulder said. “I never gave it a thought of coming back before then — furthest thing from my mind, to be honest with you.”

If Mulder makes the Angels’ 25-man roster out of spring training, he will earn $1 million and could earn as much as $6 million in incentives. It appeared that his start on July 9, 2008 at Citizens Bank Park would be the final start of the lefty’s career. After striking out Jimmy Rollins on eight pitches, he issued back-to-back four-pitch walks to Shane Victorino and Chase Utley before walking off the field.

Since then, he hasn’t appeared in the Minors or in an independent league. Instead, he tried his hand at professional golf and became an analyst for ESPN, content to move on from his playing career. Few would have believed Mulder would attempt to reinvent himself for a comeback at the age of 36 in 2014.

  1. chinahand11 - Jan 11, 2014 at 10:46 PM

    Good luck Mark!

  2. mazblast - Jan 11, 2014 at 11:36 PM

    What the heck, it’s worth a try. If he bombs, at least he can say, “I tried and found out I really was done. But at least I had the chance to find out for sure.”

    And if he does make it back and is half of what he was for those few years with Oakland, what a bargain for the Angels!

  3. lostsok - Jan 12, 2014 at 12:03 AM

    How can you not root for this guy…

    • metalhead65 - Jan 12, 2014 at 12:38 PM

      easy he once played for the cardinals.

  4. stevequinn - Jan 12, 2014 at 1:00 AM

    He was once the best lefthander in baseball. Hope he’s successful in his comeback.

  5. oldschoolnflman - Jan 12, 2014 at 1:46 AM

    He hasn’t been a good pitcher in ten years. This stunt is disrespectful to the game and his position, let a young in devolop in spring. The last couple years before he retired he was awful. Maybe Bo Jackson can come back next.

  6. braxtonrob - Jan 12, 2014 at 4:46 AM

    Cool tidbit! I hope he makes it.

  7. rbj1 - Jan 12, 2014 at 9:11 AM

    “handed his wife a cell phone and had her record footage of him”

    I remember a time when that clause would have made no sense outside of an Amazing Stories piece.

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