Over the past month there have been numerous reports of zombie-like behavior surrounding homicide cases, but the report of Mark Prior returning from the dead to possibly pitch the Red Sox within the next few weeks confirms one thing, zombies do exist.
I’m not sure what magic formula or “juice” the Red Sox have brewed up at Triple-A Pawtucket, but Prior apparently found his curve ball and his fastball is topping at 93 mph. Are you kidding me? How did this happen and why suddenly at age 31 can he pitch again?
First thing to consider is he took steroids again, but I look to give people the benefit of the doubt. While Prior was never officially announced as a steroid user, his shoulder and arm problems all point to steroid use. Still, steroids can’t give you a good curve ball.
Maybe he found the right pitching coach in Pawtucket or maybe his arm is that rested. Whatever the reason he suddenly found his groove again his numbers are gaudy.
In six relief appearances for the Paw Sox (terrible freaking name), he has allowed just four hits with 19 strikeouts over eight innings pitched. That’s hard to imagine from the “great what-if of baseball,” since his magical year with the Cubs in 2003. The Red Sox in need of bullpen help may call Prior up as soon as next week.
I have no ill will towards Prior other than he was part of the Dusty “Toothy” Baker regime and I despise “Toothy” for his terrible managing in the 2002 World Series with the Giants. You should have taken Ortiz out you idiot! You have to be a world-class jackass to screw-up the World Series in 2002 with an encore of screwing-up the Cubs first chance of getting to the World Series in close 100 years in 2003. I’ll just sit on the bench and chew my freaking toothpick while my team implodes after a fan tried to catch a foul ball.
I digress; this was supposed to be about the surprising success of Prior thus far in Triple-A Pawtucket, but I always think about Baker when I think about Prior hence why I don’t really care for Prior. Did Dusty and Larry Rothschild ruin Prior’s arm? That’s a huge possibility, especially since Rothschild left the Marlins with only a healthy pitchers after their 1997 World Series win. The entire starting core ended up with arm problems except for Livan Hernandez and Kevin Brown. Alex Fernandez, Al Leiter, Tony Saunders, and closer Rob Nenn all had problems that season or immediately the following season. Nenn never was really the same even though he had some solid years with Giants. Saunders was out baseball at age 25 because he broke his arm while throwing a pitch for the Devil Rays. He spent time on the DL with Marlins also, and never pitched a full season in his three years in the majors.
An article used to exist on the web about the number of injured pitchers under Larry Rothschild coaching, but it disappeared a few years into his time with the Cubs. I guess someone’s lawyers had it removed or the author took it down after being politely asked.
For whatever reason Prior had arm problems; steroids, Rothschild, Cubs Curse, or a perfect storm of all three, one thing’s certain. If he should make a solid return to the mound it would be a great story for the 2012 MLB season.