The Reds signed Mark Prior to a minor league deal, according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. The move reunites Prior with manager Dusty Baker, who managed Prior early in his career with the Cubs.
“He called me and ... asked for a chance,” Baker told Fay. "He feels like he has some unfinished business."
Critics often point to Baker's handling of Prior as one of the reasons the promising right-hander dealt with so many injuries. Despite the perception that Baker mis-managed Prior, they have remained close and speak a couple of times each year, Fay reports.
A series of shoulder problems derailed Prior's career, and he last pitched at the MLB level in 2006. Prior has tried to resurrect his career with stints with the Padres, Rangers, Yankees and Red Sox. The 32-year-old had been working to strengthen his shoulder in the hopes of receiving an invitation to Spring Training.
The Cubs drafted Prior second overall in 2001 and he soon became one of the National League's best pitchers. He posted a 2.43 ERA with 10.4 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 as a 22-year-old just a year and a half after being drafted.