Prior doesn’t blame Dusty for his arm woes

NEW YORK — There have been a lot of theories for why Mark Prior‘s arm became too fragile to live up to the incredible hype he carried into his Major League career. 

They talked about how he delivered pitches with that dreaded inverted ‘W’ (where your elbows lift above and beyond the level of your shoulders). They mentioned scapular loading (when pitchers pinch their shoulder blades together). They chalked it up to bad luck. 
And, perhaps most of all, they blamed Dusty Baker
Baker, now skipper of the Reds, managed Prior with the Cubs from 2003-06. In ’03, the year the Cubs were one win away from reaching the World Series, Prior was 23 and as good as any pitcher in baseball. But perhaps too young to pitch in 211 1/3 innings in the regular season, then 23 1/3 more in the playoffs. 
Prior, of course, succumbed to an inhuman amount of arm troubles thereafter, to the point where he hasn’t appeared in a Major League game since 2006 (and just one Minor League inning since then — this past September). Even he can’t pinpoint exactly what went wrong. 
But he’s not putting the blame on Baker. 
“Dusty is a manager who got hired to win ballgames, and Dusty went out and managed to win ballgames,” he told me in a phone interview recently. “I don’t fault Dusty. I was 21, 22 years old in the heat of that. I wouldn’t have changed anything about that, either. I wouldn’t have taken myself out. And a lot of those games, I argued to stay in a lot of those games, because I knew what it meant to that team and what we had a chance to do. I didn’t expect to turn around and start having issues.”
After frustrating setback after frustrating setback, Prior got back on the mound late in the 2010 season by pitching against a low-grade level of competition in the independent league. Then, he pitched one inning for the Rangers’ Triple-A affiliate before signing a Minor League contract with the Yankees.  
Prior was picking between the Rangers and Yankees this offseason, but chose New York because he felt the makeup of their bullpen gave him a better shot to pitch in the big leagues again. 
Right now, that’s all he’s thinking about.  
“That’s my first goal, is to get back to the big leagues, earn my way back,” he said. “I don’t expect to get handed anything and know that I’m not going to get handed anything. So I expect to earn my way back to the big leagues, and then once I’m there, go out there and pitch the way I know how to pitch. And try to help the Yankees win ballgames.  
“I know that sounds cliche, but definitely, where I’ve been and the point in my career, where I’m at now, for me the ultimate goal is just to get out there and win.”
I’ll have more from Prior on MLB.com in a couple of weeks. 
– Alden Gonzalez

More on pitchers: Here’s why, considering the circumstances, the Royals did pretty good in their Zack Greinke trade; and here’s why the Rays are right to shop Matt Garza

And here’s a story on the state of African-Americans in the Majors. 

2 Comments

he was 74, he could have very well been living with or near flmaiy due to his age, or just because that’s where his flmaiy was.Beyond that, a lot of people go where the work is, etc. As someone who has moved from one state to another twice I can say that it’s not as easy as you insinuate.The comment I originally responded to said “California gets what they voted for” I’m sorry but again I doubt this man, nor anyone voted to get beaten to death with a bat.This man was in a WalMart presumably minding his own business. At what point did he bear any responsibility for being beaten to death with a bat?Because that’s what your saying, that at least in part this was the victim’s fault.Answer this–should the perpetrator get a lesser sentence? Based on your logic blame is to be shared between the victim and the perp. Like you said, the vic could have simply fled the state.Also, would you be blaming the vic if he lived in say, Oregon (where I live) where CC is relativity easy to get? Because other than that, I’m not really sure what the difference is. You’re also assuming a lot: even if this would have taken place in a state w/different laws, the vic still would have needed an opportunity to act and/or someone (bystander) would have needed/been willing to act on his behalf. That’s not taking into account that someone would have needed the means to intervene (most CC permit holders don’t carry regularly). Would it have changed the odds to have a person w/CC there? Probably, but it may have not necessarily changed the outcome if someone was not able/willing to act and to assume that it would have is highly ignorant.Also, would you be willing to tell the vic’s flmaiy, to their, face, that his beating and death was, at least partly, his fault?

Want the double-blackout bonus? Live in a TWC area of San Diego (or U-Verse). Since Fox Sports aueqircd the Padres’ local broadcast only customers of Cox Cable and DirecTV get the local games. So for us TWC subscribers (as in Del mar) who also have MLB.TV, we have to attend the games to see the padres, which is difficult when they are on the road. Niether AT&T or TWC has yet to come to terms with Fox, so 45% of San Diego county is on a Padres blackout full time.

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