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.

Cardinals shut down Carlos Martínez for two weeks due to shoulder issue

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MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosh reports that the Cardinals are shutting down pitcher Carlos Martínez from throwing for two weeks because his shoulder strength isn’t where it should have been at this point. Langosch added that an MRI showed no structural damage in Martínez’s right shoulder.

Interestingly, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak didn’t sound too happy with Martínez offseason training regimen. Per Mark Saxon of The Athletic, Mozeliak said, “Obviously, there’s a history with Carlos’ shoulder and it would be probably in everybody’s best interest if he maintained a constant or perpetual approach to that program.”

Martínez, 27, battled oblique and shoulder injuries last year. He accrued just 118 2/3 innings, making just 18 starts. He was moved to the bullpen when he returned from the disabled list in August and finished out the season in that role. Still, Martínez managed a 3.11 ERA with 117 strikeouts and 60 walks.

Langosch reported last week that the Cardinals were considering using Martínez in relief again in 2019. The latest news may push the Cardinals to indeed use Martínez out of the bullpen once again. He will be reevaluated in early March, but there is a chance he won’t be ready for Opening Day.