Mark Prior is "having a blast" playing independent league ball

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Mark Prior is making his latest and perhaps last comeback attempt with the Orange County Flyers of the independent Golden League, and Tom Krasovic of Fanhouse caught up with the former phenom who said he’s “having a blast … just getting back out there and just playing the game.”

Prior is seeing game action for the first time since 2008, when he “felt something like a firecracker going off in my shoulder” while trying to make it back to the majors with the Padres. Once a dominant starter with Hall of Fame potential Prior is now working as a reliever in the hopes that shorter outings can finally keep him healthy at age 29.

According to Krasovic his fastball is in the high-80s and low-90s, topping out at 92 miles per hour. Before all the injuries, Prior averaged 94 mph. However, just a few weeks ago he was struggling to crack 90 mph, so Prior is hopeful that he can add even more velocity as he progresses.

Assuming, of course, that he can stay healthy.

I’ve got a lot of work to do. It’s taken me awhile to get my arm healthy. I think it’s healthy. I think I’m starting to show that to people. Now I need to refine and retool everything after three or four years away from competitive games. I don’t think I’m going to come back as a starter right now. Right now my best goal and my best chance is to come back as a reliever.

I think my body will handle that better than trying to go out there and throw 110 pitches or 120 pitches every fifth day. Once I can show everybody that I’m healthy as a reliever, maybe get a full season under my belt as a reliever, maybe I’ll go back to that road [as a starter] and see what’s up.

Prior hasn’t been healthy and effective since 2005 and right now he’s pitching against low-level competition in front of a couple hundred fans per game, so regardless of role he’s still a long way from the big leagues.

Yankees designate Kendrys Morales for assignment

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The New York Yankees have designated Kendrys Morales for assignment.

Morales, 36, hit just .177/.320/.242 with one homer over 19 games with New York. This after he had a disastrous run with the A’s to start the 2019 season, hitting a mere .204/.310/.259 with a lone home run and seven RBI in 126 trips to the plate. Now that Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton are back there’s no room for him anyway, so it kind of doesn’t matter.

Morales had a solid year for the Blue Jays last season, posting a .769 OPS with 21 homers across 130 games, but it’s hard to see him catching on anyplace right now. Indeed, it may be the end of the line for the 13-year veteran.