Mark Prior has been sidelined for the past three months with a groin injury, but is finally healthy enough to return to the mound today in a rookie-ball game.
Prior threw two innings against Gulf Coast League hitters from the Braves’ organization, allowing one hit and an unearned run.
According to the Associated Press he threw 24 pitches and topped out at 90 miles per hour with his fastball, which is quite a bit lower than reports of his velocity at Triple-A in April.
Back then the Yankees thought his injury was minor, but as he’s unfortunately shown over the years there’s no such thing as a minor injury for Prior. He’s still just 30 years old, but hasn’t pitched in the majors since way back in 2006 with the Cubs.
The Dodgers have pulled off their first blockbuster trade of the offseason, sending Brandon McCarthy, Scott Kazmir, Charlie Culberson, Adrian Gonzalez and cash considerations to the Braves for Matt Kemp, per announcements from both teams. The Braves are set to designate Gonzalez for assignment on Monday, making him a free agent.
Kemp, 33, had a down year with the Braves in 2017, hitting a career-low -0.5 fWAR in 115 games with the club. At the plate, he slashed a modest .276/.318/.463 with 19 home runs and a .781 OPS through 467 plate appearances, but was hampered by a nagging left hamstring strain through most of the season. This will be his 10th campaign with the Dodgers.
Whether or not Kemp can rebound during his second stint in Los Angeles is almost beside the point, however. The deal is effectively a salary dump to end all salary dumps. Offloading multiple one-year contracts for McCarthy, Kazmir and Gonzalez should bring the Dodgers back under the $197 million luxury tax threshold and position them to make a run at some of the big fish in next year’s free agent pool. It’s also worth noting that they may not keep Kemp around for long — per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, the club appears as likely to flip the veteran outfielder as they are to use him. As for the Braves, they not only rid themselves of the $43 million due Kemp through 2020, but added some rotation and infield depth with McCarthy and Culberson and can now give top prospect Ronald Acuna a legitimate tryout in left field.