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.

Astros extend winning streak to 11 games

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The Astros rallied late to keep their winning streak alive, extending it to 11 games with a 7-4 victory over the Royals on Sunday afternoon. The club is now 48-25, leading the Mariners by a full game in the AL West.

The Royals took a 4-2 lead after three innings, but Brian McCann knocked in a run with a single in the top of the fourth to cut the deficit to one run. Carlos Correa hit a game-tying solo home run in the eighth. The Astros kept their foot on the gas, scoring two more runs on RBI singles from Evan Gattis and Marwin Gonzalez in the top of the eighth and another in the top of the ninth on Correa’s sacrifice fly.

Starter Lance McCullers allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks with nine strikeouts over six innings. Tony Sipp worked a scoreless seventh. Ken Giles did the same in the eighth. Hector Rondon finished off the win in the ninth, working around a one-out walk with a game-ending double play.

After winning all 10 games on their road trip against the Rangers, Athletics, and Royals, the Astros will head home for a nine-game homestand against the Rays, Royals, and Blue Jays. Each club is below .500.