07/13/2003 8:09 PM ET
Prior says he's fine for ASG
Rosters: AL | NL
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- Cubs pitcher Mark Prior threw on the side Sunday and expected to be able to play in Tuesday's All-Star Game.
Prior, who bruised his right shoulder in a collision Friday with Atlanta's Marcus Giles, threw off the flat ground as he normally would two days after a start.
"I feel fine," Prior said.
Cubs trainer Dave Tumbas said Prior's shoulder had improved. Cubs manager Dusty Baker, who will manage the National League team, said he expected to be able to call upon the right-hander if needed in Tuesday's game at U.S. Cellular Field.
"The doctor cleared him to throw [Sunday]," Baker said. "I'm hoping he can [pitch Tuesday]. I'm sure he's hoping he can."
Prior, 22, a first-time All-Star, finished the first half 8-5 with a 3.01 ERA and ranks second in the Major Leagues in strikeouts with 150 behind teammate and fellow All-Star Kerry Wood.
"If he's physically fine, if I did pitch him [in the All-Star Game] it wouldn't be very long," Baker said. "He might be one of the guys I hold back for the end."
Baker has yet to announce his starting rotation after the All-Star break. The Cubs don't resume play until Friday at Florida.
Speaking of Florida, Baker said he's going to be careful with rookie Dontrelle Willis who was named to the National League team to replace Kevin Brown. Willis pitched Sunday for the Marlins.
"Dontrelle is pitching [Sunday]," Baker said. "Do you risk maybe hurting him on Tuesday? People come to see him pitch."
Willis, 9-1, gave up two earned runs over five innings in Florida's win Sunday. He's scheduled to start next Sunday for the Marlins.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.