Rangers sign Mark Prior to minor league contract

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MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan reports that the Rangers have signed Mark Prior to a minor-league contract and will assign him to Triple-A, but adds that “this is a long-term project and he is not expected to help the Rangers this season.”
Prior hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2006 and hasn’t been both healthy and effective since 2005, but has been working as a reliever for the Orange County Flyers of the independent Golden League.
Who knows what he has left in his injury ravaged arm at this point, but Prior is still just 29 years old and the reports on his velocity out of the bullpen were relatively promising. Considering all he’s been through, it would be nice to see him emerge as a quality reliever in 2011.

Report: Shohei Ohtani has sprained UCL in pitching elbow

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The Angels signed Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani for a $2.3 million signing bonus last weekend. They may have damaged goods on their hands. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Ohtani underwent a physical that revealed a first-degree sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament. As a result, he got a platelet-rich plasma injection on October 20. This was made known to teams after Ohtani entered MLB’s posting system, so it wasn’t like the Angels went into this blind.

Ohtani’s report said, “Although partial damage of UCL in deep layer of his right UCL exists, he is able to continue full baseball participation with sufficient elbow care program.” It also said Ohtani “will most likely be available to start his throwing program approximately a month from the PRP.”

Passan notes that the report also mentioned that a “small free body” floats in Ohtani’s elbow near his UCL.

Ohtani isn’t without other injuries. He battled hamstring and ankle issues throughout 2017 and underwent right ankle surgery back in October. Thankfully for the Angels, this diagnosis is about as good as it could be considering the circumstances. However, if Ohtani does exacerbate his UCL issue, he may ultimately need Tommy John surgery at some point, which would take him out of action for at least a year.