Mark Prior’s latest comeback attempt will be with the Reds, as John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that the oft-injured right-hander is in camp today after inking a minor-league deal.
That means Prior is reunited with Dusty Baker, who managed the Cubs back when Prior was looking like a future Hall of Famer and allowed him to rack up huge pitch counts that would be pretty shocking by current standards for young arms.
“He called me and asked for a chance,” Baker told Fay. “I talked to [general manager] Walt [Jocketty]. He says he feels good. He feels like he has some unfinished business. This is gives him one more chance or a chance at closure.”
Prior is 32 years old now and hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2006. He spent last season at Triple-A in the Red Sox’s organization, throwing 25 innings with a 3.96 ERA and 38/25 K/BB ratio as a full-time reliever.
It’s been one issue after the next for Indians reliever Andrew Miller, and on Saturday, the left-hander landed back on the 10-day disabled list with right knee inflammation. According to comments made by club manager Terry Francona, Miller’s knee has been a problem since the start of the year. The team has yet to determine a concrete timetable for his return to the bullpen.
Miller, 33, hasn’t looked like his usual sub-2.00 ERA, 2.0+ fWAR self this season, though he paired a 4.40 ERA and 6.3 BB/9 with an impressive 14.4 SO/9 across his first 14 1/3 innings. A left hamstring strain and minor back injury hampered his effectiveness on the mound, though this appears to be a more serious issue — especially given the five weeks he spent recovering from a tendon injury in his right knee last year.
In corresponding moves, the Indians designated right-hander Oliver Drake for assignment and recalled Triple-A right-handers Ben Taylor and Evan Marshall. Taylor, 25, was working on a 3.63 ERA, 1.0 BB/9 and 11.4 SO/9 through 17 1/3 innings in Triple-A Columbus, while 28-year-old Marshall turned in a terrific 0.77 ERA, 0.8 BB/9 and 6.9 SO/9 over his first 11 2/3 innings. Neither reliever has pitched more than a handful of innings at the big league level in 2018.