|Mark Prior is one focused son of a gun. Literally. His parents are Smith & Wesson. I kid you not..|
Mark Prior is a Yankee. Kind of. He signed a minor league contract with the Yankees, and he has a shot at earning a place in their bullpen. If he makes the big-league club, it will be the first time he has pitched in the majors since 2006. A lot of people have mocked and will continue to mock this signing as a worthless, desperate move for both parties. The Yankees lost out on the Cliff Lee spend-a-thon, and Mark Prior just wants to do more towel drills with Larry Rothschild.
Screw that. Mark Prior wants to pitch. He will pitch. The Yankees obviously think that’s a very real possibility, which means you should too.
Somewhere along the way, Mark Prior got a reputation as being soft. Look at that man! That is not the face of someone who lacks toughness. Prior was always the portrait of determination when he pitched for the Cubs. He just got broadsided by the star of doom. I’ve pointed out before that his injuries were much more the product of freak happenstance than mechanics issues, and the nature of his descent from future Hall-of-Famer to president of the DL-for-Life Club is grossly misunderstood. Up until the end of 2006, almost none of Prior’s missed time was due to arm trouble. About one or two missed starts worth.
Then came the shoulder trouble. Prior missed all of 2007, 2008, and 2009, but 2010 saw him pitch again. He pitched for the Orange County Flyers. He pitched (ever so briefly) in the Texas Rangers minor league system. He did so because he has been working, after surgery upon surgery, to get back into Major League Baseball, where he once dominated. If that’s a punchline, I don’t get the joke.
The last time Mark Prior stood atop a major-league mound, it was for the 96-loss Chicago Cubs. The next time he does it, it very well may be with the New York Friggin’ Yankees. It could be as a teammate of Kerry Wood. Put ’em on the cover again, Sports Illustrated, I think Prior’s seen the worst your curse had to offer. Here’s hoping the best for him is yet to come.