Pitcher Mark Prior of the Chicago Cubs points to the wall after a fan interfered with Moises Alou trying to make a catch in the eighth inning against the Florida Marlins in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
The former Cubs righthander hasn't pitched in the major leagues in almost six years, but now the Red Sox are taking a chance on him coming back.
Mention those words to a Cubs fan and all kinds of emotions go through his or her head, some of them even printable.
The last time Prior appeared on a major league mound was August 10, 2006, the final start of a miserable season in which he posted a 7.21 ERA, trying to come back from shoulder surgery.
The next few seasons saw him attempt several more comebacks, with the Padres, Rangers and Yankees. None worked. Last season, he pitched reasonably well in 11 appearances (six starts) in the Yankees organization, posting a 2.25 ERA and 0.75 WHIP, but the Yankees chose not to bring him back for another try this year.
The Boston Red Sox are the next team hoping for a comeback from the 31-year-old Prior. Yes, he's only 31.
#redsox signing mark prior. cant hurt. once great. rooting for him to come back.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) May 2, 2012
Once great, indeed. At 22, Prior was 18-6 with a 2.43 ERA, a 1.10 WHIP and 245 strikeouts, and finished third in 2003 Cy Young voting, helping lead the Cubs to the NL Central title. He was on the mound in Game 6 of the NLCS when...
Well, enough of that. At 31, Prior could still have some major league time left if his right shoulder has finally recovered. It's a worthwhile risk for the Red Sox.