Mark Prior Is Third Ex-Chicago Cubs Pitcher to Attempt MLB Comeback
Does history have a way of repeating itself? If so, Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Matt Garza had better take cover. Garza has already shown early signs with his re-injuries.
It’s amazing to reminisce over all of the pitching talent that the Cubs had during the 2000s. Mark Prior, Kerry Wood, Dontrelle Willis and Carlos Zambrano were starting pitchers who were at least temporarily groomed in the Cubs’ farm system. Rich Harden was another talented pitcher who was acquired before the 2008 July trade deadline.
All of their careers have either taken unfortunate paths or ended too soon. Arm injuries derailed the superstardom of Prior, Wood and Harden. Willis suffered from a combination of injuries and a lack of confidence. Zambrano couldn’t control his emotions.
A few of them are still chasing the rainbow. Prior wanted one last chance at a MLB comeback. Prior has become so desperate that he has signed a minor-league contract with the Cincinnati Reds. If the 32-year-old pitcher ever reaches the big leagues, he’ll put his arm in the hands of his former manager, Dusty Baker.
Prior isn’t the only ex-Cubs pitcher who is attempting a comeback. In Jan., Willis signed a minor-league contract with the Cubs. His first outing of spring training lasted seven pitches. Shoulder soreness forced him to exit that exhibition contest.
Harden has also attempted a comeback with the Minnesota Twins. Starving for starting pitching, the Twins weren’t just hoping that Harden could make the team, they wanted him as the fifth option in the Opening Day starting rotation. Harden missed the entire 2012 season after he underwent shoulder-capsule reconstruction surgery.
There was so much potential for greatness. It’s so disheartening for fans. Former general manager Jim Hendry didn’t ease those frustrations when he traded Ted Lilly in a five-player deal for Blake DeWitt (or basically nothing), but that’s another story.
Whether it’s on the mound or after they’ve moved on from their playing days, these pitchers’ no-quit attitudes will hopefully bring success to them in other elements of their lives.