Mark Prior, the erstwhile and star-crossed Chicago Cubs pitcher, will serve as bullpen coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers, sources told Yahoo Sports Tuesday.
He replaces Josh Bard, who after two seasons in Los Angeles left to become Aaron Boone’s bench coach with the New York Yankees.
Prior, 37, retired from pitching in 2013. He was then hired by his hometown San Diego Padres, working as the club’s minor-league pitching coordinator for the past three years, where he frequently was praised for his work ethic and insights.
The Dodgers could groom Prior to become their pitching coach when Rick Honeycutt, 63, retires. The 2018 season will be Honeycutt’s 13th in the role. Only Don Cooper (Chicago White Sox) and Darren Balsley (Padres) are longer tenured in the position for one team. Speculation held that Honeycutt might move into a front office role after 2017.
Prior, lauded for his “perfect mechanics” and hyped as among the best pitching prospects in history, was the second overall pick in the 2001 draft, by the Cubs. He won 18 games in 2003. Frequent injuries derailed a promising career that ended with him having made 106 big-league starts, pitching in only five big-league seasons. He last pitched professionally in 2013, making seven appearances for the Louisville Bats, the Cincinnati Reds’ Triple-A affiliate.
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